Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL)
Lymphoma is a blood cancer that develops in cells of the immune system called lymphocytes. Lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes grow and multiply uncontrollably and then travel to many parts of the body, often resulting in the formation of tumors in the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, or other organs.
There are two main forms of lymphoma: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
DLBCL is an aggressive (fast growing) lymphoma that can arise in lymph nodes or outside of the lymphatic system in organs such as the gastrointestinal tract, testes, thyroid, skin, breast, bone or brain.
There are approximately 32,000 new cases of DLBCL diagnosed in the U.S. each year. As roughly 40% of patients will not be cured by existing treatments, there are approximately 25,000 patients in the U.S who will be treated each year with drug-therapy for relapsed or refractory DLBCL.
Signs and Symptoms of DLBCL
Often the first sign of DLBCL is a painless, rapid swelling in the neck, underarms, or groin that is caused by enlarged lymph nodes. Other common symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
Treatment for DLBCL
There are a number of therapies currently available to treat patients with DLBCL. Most commonly, patients are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and the monoclonal antibody rituximab, with or without radiation. For many patients (up to 60%), this combination therapy will lead to long-term disease remission and the disease may not return after treatment.
However, for patients whose disease becomes refractory (no longer responds to treatment) or relapses (disease returns after treatment), additional therapies will typically be prescribed. In some cases, patients who have relapsed or refractory disease will go on to receive high-dose chemotherapy coupled with stem cell transplantation to try and treat their disease. Unfortunately, this approach is not appropriate for all patients and is not always effective. New medicines are desperately needed for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory DLBCL.
Additional DLBCL Resources
To learn more about DLBCL, below are additional organizations that can provide helpful resources and support:
The Lymphoma Research Foundation
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)
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