Medical Q&As

B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - explain?

Could you please give me information on B-cell, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

A lymphoma is a carcinoma of the lymphatic system and there are two broad categories of this form of malignancy, namely Hodgkin’s disease or lymphoma (named after Dr Thomas Hodgkin) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The lymphatic tissue in Hodgkin’s disease contains specific cells that are not found in other cancers or lymphomas and it is this feature that distinguishes it as a separate and unique entity. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas are much less predictable than Hodgkin’s lymphomas and are more likely to spread beyond the lymphatic tissues. When a lymphoma is analysed under a microscope it is seen to consist of malignant lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are one form of white cell that is found in the blood and the B-cell you refer to in your question is a particular type of lymphocyte. B-cells are an important part of the body’s immune or defence mechanism and they protect the body by participating in the production of antibodies. Therefore a B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a malignant growth of B-cell lymphocytes. You can learn more about this subject by following these links: http://irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=1266 and http://www.irishhealth.com/askdoc03.html?f_qid=1223. The former is a special feature on Hodgkin’s disease and the latter is a previously answered question in our Ask the Doctor section on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.