Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)

Around 1,800 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma each year in the UK.

Although people can develop Hodgkin lymphoma can at any age, this blood cancer has two incidence peaks -  one in young adults, and the second in older people.

People with Hodgkin lymphoma produce abnormal lymphocytes - a certain type of white blood cell that fights infection. These cells cluster together to form lumps in the lymph nodes, or ‘glands’. 

In Hodgkin lymphoma, the abnormal lymphocyte cells are called Reed–Sternberg cells. Any other lymphoma without these cells is called a non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

There are two main types of Hodgkin lymphoma - classical Hodgkin lymphoma (95% of people have this type) and nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL).

People with Hodgkin lymphoma are usually given chemotherapy, and in some cases radiotherapy and steroids. If this doesn’t work, higher doses of chemotherapy may be given, followed by a stem cell transplant.

Improving the way we treat people with Hodgkin lymphoma

Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is often very successful, and people are usually given chemotherapy alone, or chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy. But some people may not respond, and side effects from these therapies can be harsh, especially in children. 

Our researchers are developing new ways to treat Hodgkin lymphoma by targeting molecules that contribute to lymphoma development. And we have two trials - one wants to reduce the side effects of radiotherapy in children, and the other is looking at a biological treatment for people who are unable to have standard chemotherapy. 

EuroNet-PHL-C2 trial

Chief investigator - Dr Stephen Daw, University College Hospital, London
European Network of paediatric Hodgkin lymphoma second international inter-group study for classical Hodgkin lymphoma in children and adolescents
Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is often very successful, and has given us high cure rates. Standard treatment is chemotherapy, and in children and young people, additional radiotherapy is sometimes needed. But unfortunately, radiotherapy can lead to long-term side effects. In this trial, researchers want to individually tailor treatment for each child and young person, effectively treating Hodgkin lymphoma, but avoiding over-treatment and thereby reducing the late side-effects.

Finding new ways to target Hodgkin lymphoma

Lead researcher - Professor Paul Murray, University of Birmingham
Lymphoma Hodgkin lymphoma
Aberrant lysophospholipid and DDR1 signalling as therapeutic targets in Hodgkin's lymphoma and diffuse large B cell lymphoma
Professor Murray and his team are investigating how lipids can cause B cell lymphomas when they are over-produced. They will test if new drugs designed to inhibit the effects of these lipids are effective in the lab, and if measuring lipid levels in patients will help identify those who might benefit from these new therapies.


Chief investigator - Professor John Radford, University of Manchester and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust
Hodgkin lymphoma
A phase II study of brentuximab vedotin (SGN-35) using a response adapted design in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma unsuitable for chemotherapy due to age, frailty or co-morbidity
Brentuximab vedotin - a type of biological therapy- has been shown to be effective for people whose Hodgkin lymphoma has come back after chemotherapy treatment. In this trial, researchers want to see if this drug can help people who can’t have standard chemotherapy. Because brentuximab vedotin is a targeted therapy, it may also have less side effects than chemotherapy.

Personalising treatment for early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma

Lead researcher - Dr Kim Linton, University of Manchester
Hodgkin lymphoma
Exploratory investigation of bioPET for risk-adapted management of early stage Hodgkin lymphoma: RAPID trial associated translational research project
Recent research on personalising Hodgkin lymphoma treatment has helped reduce the burden of side effects for survivors of the disease, but there is still room for improvement. Dr Linton and her team are testing whether it is possible to use a specialist imaging technique called a ‘PET-CT scan’ and genetic screening to further individualise treatment.

Identifying new treatment strategies for leukaemia and lymphoma

Lead researcher - Professor Michelle West, University of Sussex
Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) Burkitt lymphoma Hodgkin lymphoma
Analysis of PU.1 transcription control in leukaemia and lymphoma: towards new therapeutic strategies
Professor West and her team are investigating how the tight control of cell growth is lost in leukaemia and lymphoma cells. The team will look at the genetic changes that cause leukaemia, and will also look at how infection with the Epstein-Barr virus can cause lymphoma. Their aim is to identify new treatments and targets for drug development.

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