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Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

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The distribution of subtypes of NHL varies in adults, adolescents, and younger children, with Burkitt lymphoma being much less common in adolescents than in younger children. A review of survival with various subtypes of NHL in children and adolescents between 1986 and 2007 has been reported by the BFM group.[7] Event-free survival (EFS) was 79% for adolescents and 85% for children. Female EFS was 75% versus 83% for males. Adolescents with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma fared somewhat worse than children with these diagnoses.

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.[8] In this small cohort, outcome was similar to patients with de novo NHL when treated with standard therapy.[8]

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.[9] Patients with low-stage disease (i.e., single extra-abdominal/extrathoracic tumor or totally resected intra-abdominal tumor) have an excellent prognosis (a 5-year survival rate of approximately 90%), regardless of histology.[10,11,12,13,14,15] Patients with NHL arising in bone have an excellent prognosis, regardless of histology.[16,17] Testicular involvement does not affect prognosis.[12,18] Unlike adults, children and adolescents with nonlymphoblastic NHL involving the mediastinum have an inferior outcome, as compared with other sites of disease.[9,10,13] Patients with leukemic involvement (>25% blasts in marrow) or central nervous system (CNS) involvement at diagnosis require intensive therapy.[12,19,20] Although these intensive therapies have improved the outcome for patients with high-stage (stage III or IV) or advanced-stage disease, patients who present with CNS disease have the worst outcome.[12,19,20]

Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.


  1. Smith MA, Seibel NL, Altekruse SF, et al.: Outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer: challenges for the twenty-first century. J Clin Oncol 28 (15): 2625-34, 2010.
  2. Guidelines for the pediatric cancer center and role of such centers in diagnosis and treatment. American Academy of Pediatrics Section Statement Section on Hematology/Oncology. Pediatrics 99 (1): 139-41, 1997.
  3. Percy CL, Smith MA, Linet M, et al.: Lymphomas and reticuloendothelial neoplasms. In: Ries LA, Smith MA, Gurney JG, et al., eds.: Cancer incidence and survival among children and adolescents: United States SEER Program 1975-1995. Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute, SEER Program, 1999. NIH Pub.No. 99-4649., pp 35-50. Also available online. Last accessed October 13, 2011.
  4. Sandlund JT, Downing JR, Crist WM: Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in childhood. N Engl J Med 334 (19): 1238-48, 1996.
  5. Mann G, Attarbaschi A, Burkhardt B, et al.: Clinical characteristics and treatment outcome of infants with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Br J Haematol 139 (3): 443-9, 2007.
  6. Mbulaiteye SM, Biggar RJ, Bhatia K, et al.: Sporadic childhood Burkitt lymphoma incidence in the United States during 1992-2005. Pediatr Blood Cancer 53 (3): 366-70, 2009.
  7. Burkhardt B, Oschlies I, Klapper W, et al.: Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in adolescents: experiences in 378 adolescent NHL patients treated according to pediatric NHL-BFM protocols. Leukemia 25 (1): 153-60, 2011.
  8. Landmann E, Oschlies I, Zimmermann M, et al.: Secondary non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in children and adolescents after childhood cancer other than NHL. Br J Haematol 143 (3): 387-94, 2008.
  9. Burkhardt B, Zimmermann M, Oschlies I, et al.: The impact of age and gender on biology, clinical features and treatment outcome of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in childhood and adolescence. Br J Haematol 131 (1): 39-49, 2005.
  10. Patte C, Auperin A, Gerrard M, et al.: Results of the randomized international FAB/LMB96 trial for intermediate risk B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children and adolescents: it is possible to reduce treatment for the early responding patients. Blood 109 (7): 2773-80, 2007.
  11. Link MP, Shuster JJ, Donaldson SS, et al.: Treatment of children and young adults with early-stage non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. N Engl J Med 337 (18): 1259-66, 1997.
  12. Reiter A, Schrappe M, Ludwig WD, et al.: Intensive ALL-type therapy without local radiotherapy provides a 90% event-free survival for children with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma: a BFM group report. Blood 95 (2): 416-21, 2000.
  13. Woessmann W, Seidemann K, Mann G, et al.: The impact of the methotrexate administration schedule and dose in the treatment of children and adolescents with B-cell neoplasms: a report of the BFM Group Study NHL-BFM95. Blood 105 (3): 948-58, 2005.
  14. Gerrard M, Cairo MS, Weston C, et al.: Excellent survival following two courses of COPAD chemotherapy in children and adolescents with resected localized B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: results of the FAB/LMB 96 international study. Br J Haematol 141 (6): 840-7, 2008.
  15. Seidemann K, Tiemann M, Schrappe M, et al.: Short-pulse B-non-Hodgkin lymphoma-type chemotherapy is efficacious treatment for pediatric anaplastic large cell lymphoma: a report of the Berlin-Frankfurt-M�nster Group Trial NHL-BFM 90. Blood 97 (12): 3699-706, 2001.
  16. Lones MA, Perkins SL, Sposto R, et al.: Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma arising in bone in children and adolescents is associated with an excellent outcome: a Children's Cancer Group report. J Clin Oncol 20 (9): 2293-301, 2002.
  17. Zhao XF, Young KH, Frank D, et al.: Pediatric primary bone lymphoma-diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: morphologic and immunohistochemical characteristics of 10 cases. Am J Clin Pathol 127 (1): 47-54, 2007.
  18. Dalle JH, Mechinaud F, Michon J, et al.: Testicular disease in childhood B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: the French Society of Pediatric Oncology experience. J Clin Oncol 19 (9): 2397-403, 2001.
  19. Cairo MS, Gerrard M, Sposto R, et al.: Results of a randomized international study of high-risk central nervous system B non-Hodgkin lymphoma and B acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children and adolescents. Blood 109 (7): 2736-43, 2007.
  20. Salzburg J, Burkhardt B, Zimmermann M, et al.: Prevalence, clinical pattern, and outcome of CNS involvement in childhood and adolescent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma differ by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma subtype: a Berlin-Frankfurt-Munster Group Report. J Clin Oncol 25 (25): 3915-22, 2007.

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Last Updated: May 16, 2012
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