Types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

There are many different types of NHL. It’s important your doctors know which type you have so that they can give you the best treatment.

Lymphomas are often described as B-cell lymphomas or T-cell lymphomas according to whether they began in B-cell lymphocytes or T-cell lymphocytes.

Type of B-cell lymphomas

B-cell lymphomas are more common than T-cell lymphomas. About 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with NHL have a B-cell lymphoma.

The most common types of B-cell lymphomas are:

Other less common types include:

Types of T-cell lymphomas

T-cell lymphomas  are much less common. There are a number of different types, including:

Indolent and aggressive lymphomas

Lymphomas are also often grouped as either indolent or aggressive.

Indolent lymphomas (sometimes called low-grade)

These grow very slowly and may need little or no treatment for months or possibly years. Some people will never need treatment. Follicular lymphoma (FL) is the most common type of indolent NHL.

Aggressive lymphomas (sometimes called high-grade)

These grow more quickly. They usually cause symptoms and need immediate treatment. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common type of aggressive lymphoma.

One type of lymphoma, called mantle cell lymphoma, sits between indolent and aggressive lymphoma and is often treated as an aggressive lymphoma.

Central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma

A lymphoma is a malignant tumour of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system helps defend us against infection and disease. Lymphomas that start in the brain are called primary CNS lymphomas and are rare. People who have a weak immune system are more at risk of getting this type of tumour.

HIV-related lymphoma

Having HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can increase the risk of developing lymphoma and affect the way lymphoma is treated. We have more information on HIV-related lymphoma.

Back to Understanding non-Hodgkin lymphoma

What is cancer?

There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.

What is non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

In non-Hodgkin lymphoma, blood cells called lymphocytes become abnormal. It is the fifth most common cancer in the UK.