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.
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.
Examples of NCI Activities Relevant to Lymphoma
- The Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network conducts large multi-institutional clinical trials that address issues in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation to establish the best treatment strategies.
- The Lymphoma/Leukemia Molecular Profiling Project examines gene expression profiles of lymphoid malignancies to refine their classification in molecular terms. Another goal is to use gene expression data for prognosis and treatment selection.
- Members of the International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium (InterLymph), a group of epidemiologists researching the causes of NHL, undertake research projects that pool data across studies or otherwise undertake collaborative research.
- NCI's Strategic Partnering to Evaluate Cancer Signatures (SPECS) program explores how information from molecular studies can be used to improve the care and outcomes of cancer patients. One SPECS project is developing a diagnostic and prognostic test for aggressive B-cell lymphomas using formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded lymphoma biopsies.
- The Integrative Cancer Biology Program combines experimental and clinical research with mathematical modeling to gain new insight into cancer biology, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. ICBP centers are developing computational models for lymphoma.
- Four lymphoma-specific Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) are moving results from the laboratory to the clinical setting. SPORE researchers are evaluating novel lymphoma therapies (including immunotherapies), studying lymphoma biology and epidemiology, and identifying lymphoma biomarkers.
Selected Advances in Lymphoma Research
- 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).3
Additional Resources for Lymphoma
- What You Need To Know About™ Hodgkin Lymphoma
Describes possible risks, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for someone recently diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.
- What You Need To Know About™ Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Describes possible risks, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for someone recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Hodgkin Lymphoma Home Page
NCI's gateway for information about Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Home Page
NCI's gateway for information about non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Adult Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®)
Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of adult Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®)
Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Clinical Trials for Hodgkin lymphoma
- Clinical Trials for non-Hodgkin 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.
- 3 For more information regarding ARRA funding at NCI, see Recovery Act Funding at NCI.