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Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Cellular Classification and Biologic Correlates


Nodular Lymphocyte-Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma

  • There are variable estimates for the relative frequency of nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma in the pediatric population, ranging from 5% to 10%. The relative frequency is higher for children younger than 10 years compared with children aged 10 to 19 years.[12] Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma is most common in males younger than 18 years.[15]
  • Patients with nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma generally present with localized, nonbulky disease that infrequently involves the mediastinum.[15] Almost all patients are asymptomatic.
  • Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma is characterized by molecular and immunophenotypic evidence of B-lineage differentiation with the following distinctive features:
    • Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma is characterized by large cells with multilobed nuclei, referred to as popcorn cells. These cells express B-cell antigens, such as CD19, CD20, CD22, and CD79A, and are negative for CD15 and may or may not express CD30.
    • The OCT-2 and BOB.1 oncogenes are both expressed in nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma; they are not expressed in the cells of patients with classical Hodgkin lymphoma.[16]
    • Reliable discrimination from non-Hodgkin lymphoma is problematic in diffuse subtypes with lymphocytic and histiocytic cells set against a diffuse background of reactive T-cells.[17]
    • Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma can be difficult to distinguish from progressive transformation of germinal centers and/or T-cell-rich B-cell lymphoma.[18]
  • Chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy produce excellent long-term progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma; however, late recurrences have been reported up to 10 years after initial therapy.[19,20]
  • Deaths observed among individuals with nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma are more frequently related to treatment complications and/or the development of subsequent neoplasms (including non-Hodgkin lymphoma), underscoring the importance of judicious use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy at initial presentation and after recurrent disease.[19,20]


  1. Bräuninger A, Schmitz R, Bechtel D, et al.: Molecular biology of Hodgkin's and Reed/Sternberg cells in Hodgkin's lymphoma. Int J Cancer 118 (8): 1853-61, 2006.
  2. Mathas S: The pathogenesis of classical Hodgkin's lymphoma: a model for B-cell plasticity. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am 21 (5): 787-804, 2007.
  3. Re D, Küppers R, Diehl V: Molecular pathogenesis of Hodgkin's lymphoma. J Clin Oncol 23 (26): 6379-86, 2005.
  4. Küppers R, Schwering I, Bräuninger A, et al.: Biology of Hodgkin's lymphoma. Ann Oncol 13 (Suppl 1): 11-8, 2002.
  5. Portlock CS, Donnelly GB, Qin J, et al.: Adverse prognostic significance of CD20 positive Reed-Sternberg cells in classical Hodgkin's disease. Br J Haematol 125 (6): 701-8, 2004.
  6. von Wasielewski R, Mengel M, Fischer R, et al.: Classical Hodgkin's disease. Clinical impact of the immunophenotype. Am J Pathol 151 (4): 1123-30, 1997.
  7. Tzankov A, Zimpfer A, Pehrs AC, et al.: Expression of B-cell markers in classical Hodgkin lymphoma: a tissue microarray analysis of 330 cases. Mod Pathol 16 (11): 1141-7, 2003.
  8. Skinnider BF, Mak TW: The role of cytokines in classical Hodgkin lymphoma. Blood 99 (12): 4283-97, 2002.
  9. Pileri SA, Ascani S, Leoncini L, et al.: Hodgkin's lymphoma: the pathologist's viewpoint. J Clin Pathol 55 (3): 162-76, 2002.
  10. Harris NL: Hodgkin's lymphomas: classification, diagnosis, and grading. Semin Hematol 36 (3): 220-32, 1999.
  11. Anagnostopoulos I, Hansmann ML, Franssila K, et al.: European Task Force on Lymphoma project on lymphocyte predominance Hodgkin disease: histologic and immunohistologic analysis of submitted cases reveals 2 types of Hodgkin disease with a nodular growth pattern and abundant lymphocytes. Blood 96 (5): 1889-99, 2000.
  12. Bazzeh F, Rihani R, Howard S, et al.: Comparing adult and pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program, 1988-2005: an analysis of 21 734 cases. Leuk Lymphoma 51 (12): 2198-207, 2010.
  13. Cozen W, Li D, Best T, et al.: A genome-wide meta-analysis of nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma identifies risk loci at 6p21.32. Blood 119 (2): 469-75, 2012.
  14. Slack GW, Ferry JA, Hasserjian RP, et al.: Lymphocyte depleted Hodgkin lymphoma: an evaluation with immunophenotyping and genetic analysis. Leuk Lymphoma 50 (6): 937-43, 2009.
  15. Hall GW, Katzilakis N, Pinkerton CR, et al.: Outcome of children with nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma - a Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group report. Br J Haematol 138 (6): 761-8, 2007.
  16. Stein H, Marafioti T, Foss HD, et al.: Down-regulation of BOB.1/OBF.1 and Oct2 in classical Hodgkin disease but not in lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin disease correlates with immunoglobulin transcription. Blood 97 (2): 496-501, 2001.
  17. Boudová L, Torlakovic E, Delabie J, et al.: Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma with nodules resembling T-cell/histiocyte-rich B-cell lymphoma: differential diagnosis between nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma and T-cell/histiocyte-rich B-cell lymphoma. Blood 102 (10): 3753-8, 2003.
  18. Kraus MD, Haley J: Lymphocyte predominance Hodgkin's disease: the use of bcl-6 and CD57 in diagnosis and differential diagnosis. Am J Surg Pathol 24 (8): 1068-78, 2000.
  19. Chen RC, Chin MS, Ng AK, et al.: Early-stage, lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin's lymphoma: patient outcomes from a large, single-institution series with long follow-up. J Clin Oncol 28 (1): 136-41, 2010.
  20. Jackson C, Sirohi B, Cunningham D, et al.: Lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma--clinical features and treatment outcomes from a 30-year experience. Ann Oncol 21 (10): 2061-8, 2010.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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