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Epidemiology, pathologic features, and diagnosis of classical Hodgkin lymphoma

Jon C Aster, MD
Olga Pozdnyakova, MD
Section Editor
Arnold S Freedman, MD
Deputy Editor
Alan G Rosmarin, MD


Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), formerly called Hodgkin's disease, arises from germinal center or post-germinal center B cells. HL has a unique cellular composition, containing a minority of neoplastic cells (Reed-Sternberg cells and their variants) in an inflammatory background. It is separated from the other B cell lymphomas based on its unique clinicopathologic features, and can be divided into two major sub-groups, based on the appearance and immunophenotype of the tumor cells (table 1):

Classical HL – The tumor cells in this group are derived from germinal center B cells, but typically fail to express many of the genes and gene products that define normal germinal center B cells. Based on differences in the appearance of the tumor cells and the composition of the reactive background, classical HL is further divided into the following subtypes:

Nodular sclerosis classical HL (NSHL)

Mixed cellularity classical HL (MCHL)

Lymphocyte rich classical HL (LRHL)

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: May 31, 2017.
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