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Lymphoma affects the lymphatic system and B and T cell populations of white blood cells (WBCs). Lymphoma develops with the malignant transformation of lymphocytes. Most lymphomas originate from B cells with only 10–15% being of T and NK cell origins.1



What causes lymphoma?

As with many cancers, genetic alterations have been identified in several types of lymphoma and family history of the disease accounts for 5% of cases. Several factors are considered as risks promoting the development of lymphoma. These include radiation therapy, immune deficiency and viral infections such as from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).2

Types of lymphoma

More than 70 kinds of lymphomas have been described, and they are grouped in two main types—Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


Hodgkin lymphoma

In most cases of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), the neoplastic cells are derived from mature B-cells. It preferentially develops in young adults between 20 and 34 years old. Hodgkin Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells are a hallmark of Hodgkin lymphoma. They are giant multinucleated cells forming a clonal tumor pool of Hodgkin lymphoma. CD30 is the hallmark of HL and HRS cell surface markers.3


Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is one of the most common forms of lymphoma.4 It preferentially develops in older adults and is less responsive to treatment than Hodgkin lymphoma.


  1. Jiang M, Bennani MN, Feldman AL. Lymphoma classification  update: T-cell lymphomas, Hodgkin lymphomas and histiocytic/dendritic cell neoplasms. Expert Rev Hematol. 2017;10(3):239-249. doi: 10.1080/17474086.2017.1281122

  2. Morton LM, Slager SL, Cerhan JR, et al. Etiologic heterogeneity among non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes: the InterLymph Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Subtypes Project. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2014;2014(48):130-144. doi:10.1093/jncimonographs/lgu013

  3. Küppers R, Hansmann ML. The Hodgkin and Reed/Sternberg cell. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2005;37(3):511-517. doi:10.1016/j.biocel.2003.10.025

  4. Swerdlow SH, Campo E, Pileri SA, et al. The 2016 revision of the World Health Organization classification of lymphoid neoplasms. Blood. 2016;127(20):2375-2390. doi:10.1182/blood-2016-01-643569 

BD Biosciences clinical flow cytometry solutions, including instrumentation, software and reagents, offer the building blocks for laboratory-developed tests used in the identification of markers associated with lymphomas. These solutions are not FDA cleared or approved for the diagnosis of lymphomas. Analyte Specific Reagent. Analytical and performance characteristics are not established.

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