Types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)

There are many types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (sometimes called non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). Your doctor needs to know which type you have so that they can give you the best treatment.

What are B-Cell and T-cell lymphomas?

Lymphomas develop from abnormal lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are white blood cells. There are two main types of lymphocyte: B-cell lymphocytes and T-cell lymphocytes.

If a lymphoma developed from abnormal B-cell lymphocytes, it is called a B-cell lymphoma. If it developed from abnormal T-cell lymphocytes, it is called a T-cell lymphoma.

Types of B-cell lymphoma

B-cell lymphomas are more common than T-cell lymphomas. About 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (90%) have a B-cell lymphoma.

The most common types of B-cell lymphoma are:

Other less common types include:

Types of T-cell lymphoma

T-cell lymphomas are much less common than B-cell lymphomas. There are a number of different types of T-cell lymphoma. They include:

Lymphoma that starts in the brain

Lymphomas that start in the brain or spinal cord are called primary central nervous system lymphomas (PCNSL). They are rare and usually grow quickly.

About our information

  • References

    Below is a sample of the sources used in our non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at cancerinformationteam@macmillan.org.uk

    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Guideline NG46. Haematological cancers: improving outcomes. 2016.

    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Guideline NG52. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: diagnosis and management. 2016.

    Treleaven, et al. Guidelines on the use of irradiated blood components prepared by the British Committee for Standards in Haematology blood transfusion task force. British Journal of Haematology. 2011.

  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editors, Dr Anne Parker, Consultant Haematologist; and Professor Rajnish Gupta, Macmillan Consultant Medical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.