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Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

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Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)


Childhood NHL is more common in males than in females, with the exception of primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma, in which the incidence is almost the same in males and females.[3,6] A review of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data on Burkitt lymphoma diagnosed in the United States between 1992 and 2008 revealed 2.5 cases/million person-years with more cases in males than in females (3.9:1.1). The incidence of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma increases with age in both males and females. The incidence of lymphoblastic lymphoma remains relatively constant across ages for both males and females.

The incidence and age distribution of specific types of NHL according to gender is described in Table 1.

Table 1. Incidence and Age Distribution of Specific Types of NHLa

Incidence of NHL per million person-years
ALCL = anaplastic large cell lymphoma; DLBCL = diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; NHL = non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
a Adapted from Percy et al.[3]
b In older adolescents, indolent and aggressive histologies (more commonly seen in adult patients) are beginning to be found.
Age (y)<55–910–1415–19<55–910–1415–19
Other (mostly ALCL)

The incidence of NHL is higher in whites than in African Americans, and Burkitt lymphoma is more frequent in non-Hispanic whites (3.2 cases/million person-years) than in Hispanic whites (2.0 cases/million person-years).[7]

Relatively little is known of the epidemiology of childhood NHL. However, immunodeficiency, both congenital and acquired (human immunodeficiency virus infection [HIV] or posttransplant immunodeficiency), increases the risk of NHL. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with most cases of NHL seen in the immunodeficient population.[3] Although 85% or more of Burkitt lymphoma is associated with the EBV in endemic Africa, approximately 15% of cases in Europe or the United States will have EBV detectable in the tumor tissue.[8]

NHL presenting as a secondary malignancy is rare in pediatrics. A retrospective review of the German Childhood Cancer Registry identified 11 (0.3%) of 2,968 newly diagnosed children older than 20 years with NHL as having a secondary malignancy.[9] In this small cohort, outcome was similar to patients with de novo NHL when treated with standard therapy.[9]

Prognostic Factors for Childhood NHL

With current treatments, more than 80% of children and adolescents with NHL will survive at least 5 years, though outcome is variable depending on a number of factors, including clinical stage and histology.[10]


WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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