All About B Cell Lymphoma
Risk Factors, Types and Treatment

B cell lymphoma is one of the 2 major subtypes of Non Hodgkins lymphoma. It is a cancer that starts in the B lymphocytes or B immune cells of your immune system. It has 10 types. Treatment depends on the type you're diagnosed with and the signs or symptoms of lymphoma you're experiencing.

The most common types are large B-cell and Follicular Lymphoma. B cell is more common than T cell lymphoma. In the United States, it accounts for 85% of Non HL cases.

Related Article: Hodgkins Disease

Treatment for lymphoma originating in B cells differs from the type that affects T cell. That's why it is important to find out what type of immune cell has turned abnormal.

What are the risk factors for B cell lymphomas?

Tumors affecting the B-cells of your immune system are usually hereditary such as an autoimmune diseases. But they are also associated with other environmental factors such as:

  • chronic infections caused by HIV and EBV, and
  • immune deficiencies caused by organ transplant.

What are the types of B cell lymphomas?

There are 10 types of lymphomas affecting your B lymphocytes. Six of them are:

1. Large B-cell lymphoma

Large B cell type has 5 subtypes:

  • diffuse large

  • diffuse mixed

  • immunoblastic

  • primary mediastinal b-cell, and

  • pulmonary b-cell.

The diffuse large B cell type is one of the 2 most common among the 10 types. In fact, about 1 in 3 cases is DLBCL.

Characteristics of DLBCL are . . .

  • Large cancerous cells when viewed under the microscope

  • Fast growing

  • Affects any age group but occurs mostly in older people

  • Usually starts in either internal lymph nodes (chest or abdomen) or lymph nodes you can feel (neck or armpit)

  • Responds well to chemotherapy

2. Follicular lymphoma

This is the second most common type of B cell lymphomas. It is characterized by . . .

  • Cancerous cells grow in nodular or circular pattern in your lymph nodes

  • Common among older people (age 60 or above) and rare in children

  • Starts in many lymph node sites in the body and in the bone marrow

  • Slow-growing but are hard to cure. Often follicular lymphomas are not treated when they are first diagnosed if the patient has no symptoms of the disease

  • Can become a fast-growing diffuse B-cell

3. Small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL)

The cancer starts in the small lymphocytes of the lymph nodes in your immune system. It is a slow-growing type of B-cell tumor but it can become aggressive over time.

4. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

The cancer also affects your small lymphocytes but unlike in SLL, CLL starts primarily and most frequently in the blood and the bone marrow. It also progresses slow but is much slower than the SLL type. But just like the SLL type, it can become aggressive.

Click here for more info on CLL Leukemia Disease.

Treatment for SLL and CLL types are similar because they are closely related diseases.

Click here to read the different types of leukemia.

5. Burkitt lymphoma

Burkitt has 2 classifications -- African Burkitt and American Burkitt Lymphomas.

  • Medium sized cancerous cells

  • Very fast-growing that may mean poor prognosis without proper treatment

    Related Article: Hodgkins and Non Hodgkins Lymphoma Prognosis

  • Often starts in the jaws or other facial bones for the African variety

  • Usually starts in the abdomen, ovaries, testes, or other organs, and can spread to the brain and spinal fluid for the American variety

  • Affects more men. In fact, about 90% of patients are male and the average age is about 30

  • The African classification is closely linked to Epstein Barr Virus.

6. Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma

  • Involves the brain, spinal cord, tissues around the spinal cord and the eye

  • Tends to metastasize in the central nervous system

  • Primary CNS lymphoma is more common in people with weak immune system problems and those infected with HIV

What are types of B cell lymphoma treatment?

Treatment may include the following:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Stem cell transplant and
  • Monoclonal antibody.

Treatment varies depending on the type, stage, growth of the cancer, your age and even your medical condition. Fast-growing types such as diffuse large B cell lymphoma require a combination of 2 types of treatment.


PubMed Health
Lymphoma Research Foundation

Return from B Cell Lymphoma Prognosis to What is Lymphoma

Return from Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma to Cancer Prevention

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