• Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma

    Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is a cancer of mature B-lymphocytes. It is a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a type of cancer that originates in cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes.

    • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma usually starts in lymph nodes, but may also start in the bone, skin, or other organs of the body.
    • It can spread to many parts of the body. When it is only in one area of the body (stage 1 or 2) it is called localized. When it is more extensive (stage 3 or 4) it is called advanced.
    • With current therapies, more than 90% of children with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma are cured of the disease.

    Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is more common in adults than in children, and behaves differently in adults than in children. In children and adolescents, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is usually treated in the same way that Burkitt lymphoma is treated. Although diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is an aggressive cancer, it is not as fast growing as Burkitt lymphoma.

    Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Children with non-Hodgkin lymphoma are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's through the Lymphoma Program in our Hematologic Malignancies Center. One of the top pediatric cancer centers worldwide, Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s combines the expertise of a premier cancer center – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – and a world-class children’s hospital – Boston Children’s Hospital – to provide internationally-renowned care for children with cancers of the blood and immune system.

    How is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma classified?

    For the purpose of deciding how much treatment is necessary, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma may be divided by stage (localized or advanced) or by the risk group classification that is used for Burkitt Lymphoma.

    What is the treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma?

    The lymphoma specialists at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s determine the best approach to treatment for each child's unique situation, based on the type of lymphoma, the extent of the disease, the patient’s medical condition, the patient and family’s preferences, and the most up-to-date medical knowledge about lymphoma therapies.

    Newly diagnosed, localized, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, may be treated with a short 9-week course of chemotherapy, including the drugs cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone.  

    If your child has advanced diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, treatment is the same as the treatment for Burkitt Lymphoma.

    Sometimes older adolescents may be treated with the same chemotherapy regimen that is used for adult diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. This treatment program is called “R-CHOP”.

    The cure rate for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is very high.

    Relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

    For diffuse large B-cell lymphoma that does not respond to initial treatment (refractory) or that comes back after treatment (relapse), treatment recommendations are the same as for relapsed or refractory Burkitt Lymphoma.

    Learn more

    Learn more about non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including:

    • What are the causes and symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma?
    • How is non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed and staged?
    • What is the latest research on non-Hodgkin lymphoma?