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Cancer Snapshots: Disease Focused and Other Snapshots

  • Posted: 12/02/2013

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A Snapshot of Lymphoma

Incidence and Mortality

Lymphoma, including Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), represents approximately 5 percent of all cancers in the United States. Nearly 70,000 new cases of NHL and 9,300 new cases of Hodgkin lymphoma are estimated for 2013.

Due to improvements in treatment, mortality for Hodgkin lymphoma has decreased by nearly 50 percent over the past 25 years. Over the same period, incidence has remained relatively steady.

Although the rate of increase has slowed in the past two decades, NHL incidence has climbed steadily since 1975. NHL mortality has declined since 1997. Incidence and mortality for NHL are higher for whites than for African Americans or people of other racial/ethnic groups in the United States.

Risk factors for both Hodgkin lymphoma and NHL include having a weakened immune system or being infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or Epstein-Barr virus. Infection with Helicobacter pylori or human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type 1 (HTLV-1) increases the risk for certain types of NHL. The risk of NHL increases with age, whereas the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma is higher in both early adulthood and later life. Standard treatments for both types of lymphoma are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and watchful waiting. Additional standard therapies include surgery for Hodgkin lymphoma and targeted therapy, plasmapheresis, and biological therapy for NHL.

It is estimated that approximately $12.1 billion1 is spent in the United States each year on lymphoma treatment.

Line graphs showing U.S. Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Incidence and Mortality per 100,000, by race, between 1990-2010. For both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Whites have higher incidence and mortality than African Americans.

Examples of NCI Activities Relevant to Lymphoma

Selected Advances in Lymphoma Research

Pie chart of NCI Lymphoma Research Portfolio.  Percentage of total dollars by scientific area.  Fiscal year 2012.  Biology, 24%.  Etiology/causes of cancer, 22%.  Prevention, 3%.  Early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis, 8%.  Treatment, 33%.  Cancer control, survivorship, and outcomes research, 5%.  Scientific model systems, 5%.
  • Scientists used high-throughput sequencing to identify pathways critical to the development of Burkitt lymphoma, revealing potential therapeutic targets. Published August 2012. [PubMed Abstract]
  • A study among long-term survivors of NHL, which is a chronic disease in many patients, found that patients' perceptions of cancer's impact were related to their quality of life and that many reported low or worsening quality of life over time. Published December 2012. [PubMed Abstract]
  • In a phase I clinical trial, high doses of vorinostat added to a standard combination chemotherapy regimen were tolerated by patients with relapsed lymphomas and induced responses in the majority of patients, warranting further study of the therapy. Published January 2013. [PubMed Abstract]
  • Phase II clinical trial results showed that a combination chemotherapy eliminated the need for radiotherapy in patients with one type of NHL. Published April 2013. [PubMed Abstract]
  • See this PubMed list of selected free full-text journal articles on NCI-supported research relevant to lymphoma. You can also search PubMed for additional scientific articles or to complete a search tutorial.

Trends in NCI Funding for Lymphoma Research

The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) investment2 in lymphoma research decreased from $140.1 million in fiscal year (FY) 2008 to $135.1 million in FY 2012. In addition to this funding, NCI supported $23.2 million in lymphoma research in FY 2009 and FY 2010 using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Bar graph of NCI Hodgkin Lymphoma/Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Research Investment in 2008-2012: Fiscal year (FY) 2008, $140.1 million Lymphoma Funding of $4.83 billion Total NCI Budget. FY 2009, $149.1 million Lymphoma Funding of $4.97 billion Total NCI Budget. FY 2010, $137.0 million Lymphoma Funding of $5.10 billion Total NCI Budget.  FY 2011, $139.8 million Lymphoma Funding of $5.06 billion Total NCI Budget. FY 2012, $135.1 million Lymphoma Funding of $5.07 billion Total NCI Budget.

Additional Resources for Lymphoma


  • 1 Cancer Trends Progress Report, in 2010 dollars.
  • 2 The estimated NCI investment is based on funding associated with a broad range of peer-reviewed scientific activities. For additional information on research planning and budgeting at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), see About NIH.