Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma Treatment

A cancer of the lymphatic system, which is a part of the body’s immune system, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) also is referred to as non-Hodgkin lymphoma or lymphoma. In this form of cancer, two types of white blood cells called B-lymphocytes (B-cells) and T-lymphocytes (T-cells) that work to fight off infections become cancerous. Approximately 65,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are expected to be diagnosed in 2010 1.

There are many different forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which are typically classified by cell type (B-cell lymphomas or T-cell lymphomas) or rate of growth (aggressive/fast-growing or indolent/slow-growing).

The most common form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, which is a fast-growing lymphoma that can affect the spleen, lymph nodes, liver and bone marrow. While there are several subtypes of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, treatment options generally fall in one or more of the following categories of therapy:

Chemotherapy
A combination of four chemotherapy agents -- cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone -- which are referred to as CHOP chemotherapy along with the monoclonal antibody Rituxan is the standard treatment regimen for diffuse large b-cell lymphoma. This regimen is usually given over a six-month timeframe.
Radiation therapy
The use of high-energy rays to kill lymphoma cells may be used along with CHOP chemotherapy and Rituxan or given after the six-month course of therapy is over.
Biological Therapy or Immunotherapy
These type of therapies are specifically designed to attack a particular target or component found on the surface of the lymphoma cells. They are referred to as monoclonal antibodies, because they are man-made versions of antibodies, or proteins that the body makes to fight off infections. Rituxan is a monoclonal antibody that is usually combined with CHOP chemotherapy to treat this particular form of lymphoma.
Stem Cell Transplantation
If the diffuse large b-cell lymphoma recurs after initial treatment, a stem cell transplant may be considered in some patients. This form of treatment occurs when high doses of chemotherapy or radiation are given to destroy bone marrow cells (where white blood cells develop) and then are replaced with healthy stem cells, which form new white blood cells, previously removed from the patient or a donor.

References

  1. National Cancer Institute. Non Hodgkin Lymphoma Cancer Home Page. Accessed on February 3, 2011.

 

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