Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Treating Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Hopkins lymphoma is a type of lymphoma, which is a cancer originating from white blood cells called B-lymphocytes. It can affect anyone of any age, but it most commonly affects young adults (age 15–35) and those over 55 years old. This also known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease, named after Thomas Hodgkin, who first described abnormalities in the lymph system in 1832. Hopkins lymphoma is characterized by the orderly spread of disease from one lymph node group to another and by the development of systemic symptoms with advanced disease. When Hodgkins cells are examined microscopically, multinucleated Reed-Sternberg cells (RS cells) are the characteristic histopathology finding.

There are 2 type of lymphoma, Hopkins/Hodgkin’s and non- Hodgkins lymphoma. Most lymphomas are non-Hodgkin lymphoma and only about 1 in 5 cases are Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It’s important to know exactly what type of lymphoma you have. This is because the treatments and outlook (prognosis) can vary greatly for different types of lymphoma. The most common symptom of hopkins lymphoma is one or more painless swellings in the neck, armpit or groin. These swellings are enlarged lymph nodes. About 7 out of 10 people diagnosed have a swollen lymph node in their neck. Usually it doesn’t hurt, but some people say their lumps ache. A much enlarged node in the neck can give you a stiff neck. About 1 in 4 people have other more general symptoms. These are called ‘B symptoms’. They can include heavy sweating (especially at night), temperatures that come and go, and losing a lot of weight. Some people have itching, which may be worse after drinking alcohol. If the lymphoma affects lymph nodes in the chest or lungs it can cause a cough or breathlessness.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma may be treated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, the choice of treatment depending on the age and sex of the patient and the stage, bulk and histological subtype of the disease. Chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma uses combinations of different anti-cancer drugs rather than just one drug. This reduces the chances of the patient developing resistance to any one of the drugs. It also reduces the side effects because lower doses of individual drugs are used. The drug combination most widely used is called ABVD (adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine) while ChlVPP (chlorambucil, vinblastine, procarbazine and prednisone) and BEACOPP (bleomycin, etoposide, Adriamycin, cyclophosphamide, Oncovin, procarbazine and prednisolone) may also be used to treat hopkins lymphoma.

Different Types of Lymphoma Cancer

Types of lymphoma cancer can be classifihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifed into 2 main types: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While both types of cancer develop in the same way, the single factor that distinguishes the two is a single type of cell – the Reed Sternberg cell. This cancerous cell type is found only in Hodgkin’s lymphoma and can be distinguished from other types of lymphoma by the way it appears under a microscope. Hodgkin here is refers to Thomas Hodgkin who published the first description of lymphoma in 1832. Since then, many other forms of lymphoma have been described, grouped under several proposed classifications. The 1982 Working formulation classification became very popular. It introduced the category of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), divided into 16 different diseases. It excluded the Hodgkin lymphomas and divided the remaining lymphomas into four grades (Low, Intermediate, High, and Miscellaneous) related to prognosis, with some further subdivisions based on the size and shape of affected cells. This purely histological classification included no information about cell surface markers, or genetics, and it made no distinction between T-cell lymphomas or B-cell lymphomas. Because these different types of lymphomas cancer have little in common with each other, the NHL label is became obsolet.

In 1990s, the Revised European-American Lymphoma (REAL) Classification attempted to apply immunophenotypic and genetic features in identifying distinct clinicopathologic entities among all the types of lymphomas cancer except Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The latest classification by the WHO (in 2001) lists 43 different forms of lymphoma divided in four broad groups based upon the foundations laid within the REAL. This system attempts to group lymphomas by cell type and defining phenotypic, molecular or cytogenetic characteristics. There are three large groups: the B cell, T cell, and natural killer cell tumors. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is now recognized as being a tumor of lymphocytes of mature B cell lineage.

The different categories of lymphoma can seem very complicated, but they are based on:
* The appearance or histology of the cancer cells under a microscope.
* What kinds of genetic mutations they carry.
* Whether they form tight clusters (nodular) or are spread throughout a lymph node or other organ of the body (diffuse).
* What type of cell they arose from.
* What types of proteins the lymphoma cells have on their surface.
* Where they occur in the body.
It is often difficult to group lymphoma into definite categories because many lymphomas have traits overlap with another types of lymphoma.