Feature Article

Lymphoma: the good, the bad and the ugly

Ken Bradstock



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.