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Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Also called: NHL, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

What is non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is the group name for all types of lymphomas except Hodgkin lymphoma.

Lymphomas are cancers that begin in the body’s lymphatic system. This system transports white blood cells called lymphocytes through the body. Lymphocytes help the body to filter out dead cells and foreign organisms, such as bacteria. This helps the body fight off infection.

NHLs can arise in many sites including the lymph nodes, thymus gland, spleen and abdominal organs such as the bowel.

How common is non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

  • NHLs account for 55 percent of childhood lymphomas.
  • Each year in the United States, about 800 new cases of NHL are diagnosed in children up to age 19.
  • Out of a million children, about nine white children younger than age 15 develop NHL each year.
  • Twice as many white children develop the disease as African-American children.
  • NHL occurs in two to three times more boys than girls.
  • The likelihood of developing NHL is higher for people who take certain medications or who have the following:
    • A brother or sister with NHL
    • Disorders affecting the immune system, such as those caused by HIV and other viruses

What are the symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • A painless lump or swelling of the testicle(s)
  • Trouble swallowing

How is non-Hodgkin lymphoma treated?

Combination chemotherapy is most often used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Radiation therapy is rarely needed.

  • Chemotherapy (“chemo”)—uses powerful medicines to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing (dividing) and making more cancer cells:
    • Chemo may be injected into the bloodstream, so that it can travel throughout the body.
    • Some chemo may be given by mouth.
    • Combination therapy uses more than one type of chemo at a time.

What are the survival rates for non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

  • About 80 percent of patients treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma remain disease-free.
  • This positive outlook increases to about 90 percent for children with early, localized NHL.

Why choose St. Jude for your child’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment?

  • St. Jude is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children.
  • St. Jude has created more clinical trials for cancer than any other children’s hospital in the United States.
  • The nurse-to-patient ratio at St. Jude is unmatched—averaging 1:3 in hematology and oncology and 1:1 in the Intensive Care Unit.
  • Patients have access to a large clinical team sub-specialized in Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • St. Jude has developed a specific treatment for children with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Associated Clinical Trials

CN160: Ruxolitinib Therapy in Children after Bone Marrow Transplant

A Phase II Pediatric Study of a Graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis regimen with no calcineurin inhibitors after day +60 post first allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant for hematological malignancies

Diseases Treated:


  • Ages 12–21 years
  • Lymphoid or myeloid-based cancer that requires a bone marrow transplant


View Trial

HAP2HCT: Partially Matched Family Donor Bone Marrow Transplant in Children and Young Adults with High Risk Cancer

TCRαβ-depleted Progenitor Cell Graft with Additional Memory T-Cell DLI, plus Selected Use of Blinatumomab, in Naïve T-Cell depleted Haploidentical Donor Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for Hematologic Malignancies

Diseases Treated:


For transplant recipient:

  • 21 years or younger
  • Does not have a suitable sibling donor or volunteer unrelated donor
  • Has a suitable single haplotype matched family member donor
  • Diagnosed with high risk hematologic malignancy
  • No prior allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant
View Trial

HAPNK1: Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) for Children with Leukemia/Lymphoma

Haploidentical Donor Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell and Natural Killer Cell Transplantation with a TLI-Based Conditioning Regimen in Patients with Hematologic Malignancies

Diseases Treated:

Leukemia and lymphoma


  • 21 years and younger
  • Does not have a suitable HLA-matched sibling donor or volunteer HLA-matched unrelated donor or is not a candidate for conventional matched donor transplant due to refractory disease
  • Has a suitable single haplotype-matched family member donor
  • High-risk hematologic malignancy, including certain diagnoses of:
    • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
    • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
    • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
    • Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
    • Hodgkin lymphoma
    • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
View Trial

REF2HCT: Haploidentical Bone Marrow Transplant for Leukemia and Lymphoma

Provision of TCRγδ T Cells and Memory T Cells plus Selected Use of Blinatumomab in Naïve T-cell Depleted Haploidentical Donor Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for Hematologic Malignancies Relapsed or Refractory despite Prior Transplantation

Diseases Treated:


  • 21 years old and younger
  • Diagnosed with one of the following that has come back or did not improve after bone marrow transplant
    • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
    • Acute myeloid leukemia
    • Myeloid sarcoma
    • Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)
    • Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML)
    • Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
    • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
  • Has a family member who is a suitable stem cell donor
View Trial

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