At the family medicine center, there is a 25 year old male, named Hogan, who came in because of a painless non-erythematous mass on his neck. Next to Hogan, there is a 30 year old male immigrant from Africa, named Burak, who has noticed a painless mass on his jaw. He also complains of drenching night sweats, and unexplained weight loss over the last few months. Biopsy is ordered for both people. In Hogan’s there’s binucleated B cells surrounded by mainly lymphocytes. Burak’s biopsy showed numerous lymphocytes with some tingible-body macrophages. CBC is normal for both.
Both Hogan and Burak have lymphoma. Lymphomas are tumors derived from lymphocytes, which are B and T cells. They can be broadly grouped into two categories; Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
In contrast, non-Hodgkin lymphomas don’t have Reed-Sternberg cells can sometimes spread non-contiguously, and can involve extranodal sites like the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and brain. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas can occur in both children and adults. Finally, overall prognosis is better with Hodgkin lymphomas.
Let’s start by looking at Hodgkin lymphoma. This type of lymphoma typically arise from B-cells and spread in a contiguous manner, meaning it spreads to nearby lymph nodes, and rarely involve extranodal sites. It has a bimodal age distribution, affecting young adults in their 20s and adults older than 60 years of age. Histologically, it’s characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells and for your exams, remember that these are binucleated, neoplastic B cells that look kind of like owl eyes. The large mononuclear version of Reed-Sternberg cells are called Hodgkin cells. These abnormal, neoplastic cells are usually surrounded by non-neoplastic inflammatory cells, mostly T cells, and sometimes eosinophils. They can also activate fibroblasts, which secrete collagen.