The World Health Organization (WHO) divides Hodgkin lymphoma into two main subtypes. They are:
Classical Hodgkin lymphoma is characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma is characterized by the presence of lymphocyte-predominant cells, sometimes termed “popcorn cells,” and Reed-Sternberg cells are not found.
It's important to know your subtype since it plays a large part in determining the type of treatment you'll receive.
About 95 percent of people with Hodgkin lymphoma have classical Hodgkin lymphoma. This subtype is further divided into four distinct subtypes shown in the table below.
Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL) affects about 5 percent of Hodgkin lymphoma patients. This subtype is characterized by the presence of lymphocyte-predominant cells and the absence of Reed-Sternberg cells. The following are some characteristics of NLPHL:
- Most common in 30 to 50 year-old age group
- More common in male than in female patients
- NLPHL is slow growing (indolent) and highly curable.
- Small risk (3-5 percent of cases) of transformation to aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's free booklet, Hodgkin Lymphoma.