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Lymphoblastic lymphoma is an aggressive type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the white blood cells. These cells are part of the body's immune system.
Lymphoblastic lymphoma begins in young immune cells called lymphoblasts. Normally, lymphoblasts develop into T lymphocytes or B lymphocytes , which fight infection and disease. A genetic change in these cells causes them to become cancerous. They travel to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system, or lymph system.
With the appropriate treatment, the chances of 5-year survival for children in the United States is greater than 80–90%, depending upon the cancer stage.
Learn more about blood cells and blood cancers.
Watch a video to learn more about lymphoma in children.
A cancer diagnosis requires tests and procedures. The doctor will give your child a physical exam, ask about their health history, and order tests. These may include:
Lymphoblastic lymphoma has 2 types:
Both T-LL and B-LL may spread to other parts of the body.
The care team plans treatment based on the cancer stage. Some tumors grow rapidly. So, the care team must stage the lymphoma as quickly as possible.
To find out the stage of NHL, doctors may order more tests such as:
The stage will tell how much cancer is present and if it has spread to other parts of the body.
The International Pediatric Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Staging System divides childhood lymphoblastic lymphoma into 4 stages depending on what parts of the body show disease at diagnosis. For lymphoblastic lymphoma, all stages are typically treated similarly and involve similar treatments to those used for lymphoblastic leukemia.
Treatment depends on the following:
Treatment may include:
The doctor will review the treatment options. For some patients, the doctor may suggest a clinical trial of chemotherapy with different approaches to prevent the spread of lymphoma to the central nervous system.
Treatment for recurrent lymphoblastic lymphoma includes chemotherapy and/or high-dose chemotherapy with a hematopoietic cell transplant (also called a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant). Radiation may be used for some cases of relapse. Some patients may be able to take part in clinical trials to test new treatments.
The prognosis depends on several factors. These include the stage of the disease and the genetic changes that caused the lymphoma.
With the proper treatment, the 5-year survival rate in the U.S. is around 90% for children with limited stage (stage 1 or 2) lymphoblastic lymphoma.
The 5-year survival rate for more advanced (stage 3 or 4) lymphoblastic lymphomas is generally higher than 80%.
Coping with a cancer diagnosis and treatment can be stressful for the patient and family. You may want to talk with a social worker, psychologist, or another mental health specialist.
Learn how to talk to your child about cancer.
After treatment, your child's doctor may use imaging tests and exams to watch for recurrence. Childhood cancer survivors should get follow-up care throughout their lives. Some treatments can cause late effects. These are health problems that happen months or years after treatment ends.
After completing treatment, it is important to:
Reviewed: May 2023