• Lymphoma of Bone Overview

    Lymphoma of bone is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph tissue and can occur in many sites in the body. There are several subtypes of lymphoma of bone. The most common types of lymphoma of bone in children are:

    Lymphoma of Bone Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Patients with lymphoma of bone are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through our Lymphoma Program. Many of our lymphoma specialists are also active researchers, so our patients have access to the very best and up-to-date treatments available. Experts from the Bone & Soft Tissue Program may also help with the care of patients with lymphoma of bone.

    Symptoms & Diagnosis

    Lymphoma of bone can progress slowly or quickly, from days to weeks to many months. Common symptoms include:

    • Bone pain
    • Mass on the bone

    Lymphoma of bone may spread to other organs and tissues in the body. An accurate diagnosis is critical to developing the appropriate treatment plan. The most common way to find out the exact kind of lymphoma is a biopsy to obtain tissue from the affected bone.

    Once the diagnosis of lymphoma of bone is known or suspected, tests are done to determine the where the lymphoma is in the body. This is also known as “staging”. Common tests include:

    • Physical exam to check for lumps from swollen lymph nodes
    • Diagnostic imaging scans from the neck to pelvis
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the affected bone(s)
    • Bone marrow aspiration (removal) and biopsy to look for lymphoma in the marrow
    • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)

    Other tests that may be done include:

    • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan
    • Chest-x-ray

    Blood tests and other tests such as an echocardiogram may be done as part of preparation for treatment. After all necessary tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options, including clinical trials if any are available.

    Treatment & Care

    Treatment of lymphoma of bone depends on your child’s situation.

    • Chemotherapy is always used but the exact drugs used and total duration of treatment vary by the type of lymphoma and the stage.
    • Surgery is rarely used for treatment but may be necessary for a biopsy.
    • Stem cell transplant is rarely used except as part of treatment for progressive or recurrent disease.

    Long-term Outlook

    The outlook for children with lymphoma of bone is excellent. More than 90 percent of children are cured and can resume a normal life, returning to school, social activities and athletics.
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