Lymphoma is a type of cancer which develops from white blood cells called lymphocytes. The cancerous cells then predominately build up in lymph nodes—enlarging them to form tumors. However, it may also develop in other parts of the lymphatic system, such as the spleen, bone marrow, blood or even other organs. The lymphatic system also includes lymphatic vessels, which provide the means for the cancerous cells to circulate throughout the body. The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system.
Types of Lymphomas
There are two main groups of lymphoma—Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin (NHL). Differences exist among the various types, but all affect the cells that play a role in the body’s immune system.
- Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is the least common form of this disease. A microscopic exam of a tissue biopsy is to necessary to differentiate between Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. If the abnormal cells are identified as Reed-Sternberg cells, then the diagnosis is HL, of which there are six sub-types.
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is the most common type of cancer affecting lymphocytes. There are many sub-types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These types can be divided into aggressive (fast-growing) and indolent (slow-growing) types. Each type is different, behaves differently and requires unique treatment options.
"Two weeks after I was diagnosed (with non-Hodgkin lymphoma), I took the Rational Therapeutics test [EVA-PCD assay] and the results allowed the doctors to come up with a treatment regimen based on how well I would respond to various chemotherapies," George Kalogridis said. "My local oncologist used these recommendations. After my second round of chemotherapy, the cancer was gone.".
Common Treatments for Lymphoma
Currently medical oncologists base their treatment strategy on standard chemotherapy protocols for specific types of cancer. For NHL patients, CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone) is the most widely used, while ABVD (doxorubicin, vinblastine, bleomycin, dacarbazine), is among the most common therapies for HL. However, many other protocols are in use or being tested. These protocols, developed over years of clinical trials, assign patients to the drugs for which they have the greatest statistical probability of response.
The fact that all patients with lymphoma will have an equal likelihood of response to a drug does not mean they will respond equally. In some instances, the addition of a drug might be recommended, like etoposide for EPOCH. In other circumstances, more intense dosing may be preferred like Hyper-CVAD.
“Everybody is an individual and we all react differently to things,” George said. “It makes perfect sense that you should take a treatment specific to your own body’s needs. We’re all individuals and cancer care is no different.”.
Rational Therapeutics uses a chemosensitivity-resistance assay to determine which drugs work best for which patients. The test exposes living cancer cells obtained from the patient via biopsy to a variety of chemotherapy drugs and novel compounds.
Terry Gallant said, “I had seen 20 separate oncologists in my battle with cancer. There was no doubt in my mind that Dr. Nagourney was the one I wanted to treat me. He did a functional profile on my malignant tissue. It is a test, a tool to be used by a skilled oncologist in selecting protocols for his patient.”.
Just like in the cases of, , and the other lymphoma patients helped by our staff at Rational Therapeutics, let us help find the right treatment for you. Read their stories.