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Types of Hodgkin lymphoma

Men and women discussing Hodgkin's lymphoma

This page tells you about the different types of lymphoma. There is information about

 

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Types of Hodgkin lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma used to be called Hodgkin's disease or Hodgkin's lymphoma. There are several different types of this cancer. The different types are put into groups according to how the cells look under a microscope. The groups are part of a classification system called the WHO (World Health Organisation) classification. It is used to define all types of lymphoma.

The WHO classification puts Hodgkin lymphoma into 2 main groups

  • Classical types
  • Nodular lymphocyte predominant type

There are 4 types within the classical group. A type called nodular sclerosing is the most common type of Hodgkin lymphoma in the UK. Nearly 6 out of 10 (60%) of all diagnosed cases are this type.

Only about 1 in 20 cases (5%) of Hodgkin lymphoma are nodular lymphocyte predominant type.

 

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Different types of Hodgkin lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma used to be called Hodgkin's disease or Hodgkin's lymphoma. There are several different types of this cancer. The different types are put into groups according to how the cells look under a microscope. The groups are part of a classification system called the WHO (World Health Organisation) classification. It is used to define all types of lymphoma, including the different types of non Hodgkin lymphoma

The WHO classification puts Hodgkin lymphoma into 2 main groups, which are

 

Classical types

There are 4 types of classical Hodgkin lymphoma. All these types contain abnormal cells called Reed-Sternberg cells that can be seen under the microscope. Reed-Sternberg cells are a type of white blood cell (B lymphocyte) that has become cancerous. They are larger than the normal lymphocytes and usually have two nuclei.

The 4 types of classical Hodgkin lymphoma are

Nodular sclerosing

Nodular sclerosing is the most common of all types of Hodgkin lymphoma in the UK. Nearly 6 out of 10 of all diagnosed cases (60%) are this type. Nodular sclerosing is the most common type in young adults. It is usually found at an early stage when lymph glands in the neck become enlarged.

Mixed cellularity

About 15 out of every 100 cases (15%) of Hodgkin lymphoma are the mixed cellularity type. It often affects a few groups of lymph nodes when it is diagnosed. The affected lymph nodes contain a mixture of different types of lymphocytes and other blood cells.

Lymphocyte rich

1 in 10 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma (10%) are the lymphocyte rich type. The lymphocytes look very small. When doctors look at a sample of the affected lymph node under the microscope, they see lots of lymphocytes with very few Reed-Sternberg cells.

Lymphocyte depleted

The lymphocyte depleted type of classical Hodgkin lymphoma is very rare. The lymph nodes may contain a lot of fibrous tissue with very few Reed-Sternberg cells. Or they may contain a lot of a type of lymphocyte called the reticular lymphocyte and many Reed-Sternberg cells.

 

Nodular lymphocyte predominant type

Only about 1 in 20 cases (5%) of Hodgkin lymphoma are the nodular lymphocyte predominant type. It is more common in older people but can occur in young people. The main difference between this type and classical Hodgkin lymphoma is that in the nodular lymphocyte predominant type there are very few Reed-Sternberg cells. But there are other abnormal cells that doctors call popcorn cells. This type of Hodgkin lymphoma is often only in one group of lymph nodes when it is diagnosed (localised disease). It tends to be slower growing than classical Hodgkin lymphoma and the treatment is different. 

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Updated: 13 June 2013