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Feature Article

Lymphoma: the good, the bad and the ugly

Ken Bradstock

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Abstract

There are more than 20 related but discrete syndromes covered by the term ‘lymphoma’, and they each have their own unique requirements for optimal clinical management.

Key Points

  • Lymphomas can be broadly classified into Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).
  • NHL is almost 10 times more common than HL in Australia, and its incidence is increasing.
  • NHL consists of about 20 different syndromes on biological, pathological and clinical criteria.
  • Most NHL cases are derived from malignant transformation of B-lymphocytes in lymph nodes. Follicular and diffuse large cell lymphomas are the most frequent forms, each comprising around 30% of total cases of NHL.
  • Treatment for NHL is largely dictated by histology and anticipated clinical course rather than disease stage, with predominantly palliative intent for indolent NHL and curative intent for aggressive disease.
  • Management of lymphomas should ideally be carried out by a multidisciplinary team of experienced diagnostic and clinical experts.

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