Lymphoma Hodgkins Disease

Hodgkin’s disease, also known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, HD or HL, is a cancerous disease derived from cells of the lymphatic system. Lymphatic tissue includes the lymph nodes and other organs of the body that are part of the body’s immune and blood-producing systems.

The lymph nodes are located in the neck, underarms and groin, but are also present in other parts of the body such as the abdomen, chest and pelvis. No non-cancerous or benign types of Hodgkin’s disease exist.

Certain similarities exist between HD and leukemia, inasmuch as both forms of cancer involve the abnormal growth of white blood cells. HD, however, originates in the lymphatic system, whereas leukemia originates in the blood or bone marrow.

HD History

Hodgkin’s disease, a less common form of lymphoma than non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866), an English physician working at Guy’s Hospital in England. He first identified the unique features of this type of cancer in 1832.

The cancer cells involved in HD are called Reed-Sternberg cells and are named after the two doctors who first described the cells as specific to the disease. These cells are different from the cells present in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other types of cancer.

Hodgkin’s disease, a less common form of lymphoma than non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866), an English physician working at Guy’s Hospital in England. He first identified the unique features of this type of cancer in 1832.

The cancer cells involved in HD are called Reed-Sternberg cells and are named after the two doctors who first described the cells as specific to the disease. These cells are different from the cells present in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other types of cancer.

Types of Hodgkin’s Disease

The disease is divided into four main types based on their histopathology — the appearance of the tumor under the microscope:

The disease is divided into four main types based on their histopathology — the appearance of the tumor under the microscope:

  • nodular sclerosis
  • mixed cellularity
  • lymphocyte depleted
  • lymphocyte predominant.

Occasionally, scientists also refer to a fifth type, called unclassified HD.

Although the types vary in the extent to which they are aggressive, all four main types have in common the presence of a special cell known as the Reed-Sternberg (RS) cell. According to current scientific opinion, the RS cell is a type of malignant B cell.

HD arises from abnormal white blood cells or lymphocytes. Normally, healthy B cells (B lymphocytes) produce antibodies that help fight infections.

Hodgkin’s Disease Statistics

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that approximately 7,350 new cases of Hodgkin’s disease will be diagnosed in the United States during 2005. The ACS also estimates that 52.5 percent of these new cases will occur in men. This pattern of gender distribution is consistent with past years, where HD consistently affects both sexes but with a slight male dominance. The increased male prevalence is much more pronounced in young adults (12 to 35 years old) where approximately four males are affected for every female.

Treatment for Hodgkin’s Disease

Due to the rapid advances in diagnosis and treatment and the encouraging findings from the many internationally based clinical trials, more than eighty percent of patients with HD can be completely cured.

Treatment for HD usually involves radiation therapy, sometimes in combination with chemotherapy. In addition, encouraging results are currently being reported using immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies.