Hodgkin Lymphoma - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Diseases / Research

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Reed-Sternberg cell

The presence of the Reed-Sternberg cell, marked by two nuclei, is a clear indicator of Hodgkin Lymphoma. The mutated cell is typically derived from lymphocytes.

Photo by Fred Hutch

Click for high-res version

Fred Hutch pioneered bone marrow transplantation as a treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma (formerly known as Hodgkin disease) and other blood cancers. Today, we are spearheading a variety of innovative new treatments and techniques.

Our researcher are developing new regimens combining chemotherapies, subtances and techniques to target therapy to diseases cells and antibodies to prevent relapse.  Hutch researchers have also found that reduced mental capacity after transplant is temporary.

Fast Facts

  • Lymphoma refers to a group of cancers that strike the lymphatic system, an essential component of the body's immune system.

  • Hodgkin lymphoma occurs in lymphocytes, white blood cells that are transported by the lymph system, a network of organs, nodes and vessels that are part of the body’s immune system.

  • Hodgkin lymphoma is characterized by the presence of the Reed-Sternberg cell, which is a lymphocyte that becomes abnormal. The Reed-Sternberg cell does not die when it should, does not protect the body from infections and eventually multiplies to form a tumor.

  • Symptoms include enlargement of lymph nodes, spleen or other immune system tissue, fever, weight loss, fatigue, or night sweats.

  • Hodgkin lymphoma is considered one of the most treatable types of lymphoma with high survival rates.

[back to top]

Treatment & Prognosis

Pioneering bone marrow transplantation – Led by Nobel Prize winner Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, Fred Hutch researchers have transformed bone marrow transplantation into standard treatment for leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers. The procedure is one of cancer treatment's biggest success stories and has saved hundreds of thousands of patients' lives. Learn more >

Developing therapies that zero in on cancer cells – Our scientists are currently researching substances that find cancer cells and carry cancer-killing substances to them without harming healthy cells. One study, led by Dr. Ajay Gopal, looks to administer the antibody prior to stem cell transplant in treating patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Learn more >

Investigating new drug therapies – Dr. Leona Holmberg is leading a clinical trial examining the drug brentuximab vedotin as an effective therapy for treating post-stem cell transplantation patients who are at high risk of residual Hodgkin lymphoma. Learn more >

Evaluating combination treatments – Dr. Oliver Press is leading a clinical trial to study fludeoxyglucose F 18-PET/CT imaging to see how well it works in assessing response to combination chemotherapy and allow doctors to plan better additional further treatment in treating patients with late stage Hodgkin lymphoma.
Learn more >

Reducing cancer worldwide - Nearly a quarter of the world’s cancers are caused by infectious diseases that are preventable or treatable, which include lymphoma from Epstein-Barr virus, sarcomas associated with HIV, cervical cancer from human papillomavirus and liver cancer from hepatitis B and C.  To reduce the burden of cancer worldwide, Fred Hutch has united with the Uganda Cancer Center to open a new state-of-the-art research, training and clinical care facility—UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre— a major milestone.
Learn more

[back to top]

Improving Survival

Understanding chemobrain – Research by Dr. Karen Syrjala shows that the decline in mental skills experienced by many bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients is largely temporary. Patients who experience these symptoms usually return to normal mental function within a year of their transplant, and will continue to improve long-term. Learn more >

Seeing a bright future for survivors – A study by Dr. Syrjala shows that after 10 years survivors of stem cell transplants for blood cancers are nearly as healthy as people who didnt undergo the procedure. Both populations had similar rates of asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and osteoporosis. They also had similar psychological health, marital satisfaction and employment. Learn more >

[back to top]

Make an Appointment

Patients have access to cancer treatment developed by Fred Hutch at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, our clinical care partner.

Find a Trial

Clinical trials are vital to the development of innovative treatments for cancer and other related diseases.

Share Your Story

To help build community we are collecting first-person stories from those affected by cancer or related diseases.  Every story matters. Tell us your story so we can share it.

Volunteer for a Study

Volunteers play a key role in prevention and early detection research.


Support our quest for cures

Related Stories