What is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a rare tumor of the lymphatic system that is one of the most common cancers in young adults​1​. That is why, the disease is characterized by a small number of malignant cells derived from B-lymphocytes and a broad inflammatory microenvironment. This unique etiology and histopathological characteristic of this disease are still not fully clear. Patients are usually diagnosed between the age of 20 and 30 years and are generally found to have supra-diaphragmatic lymphadenopathy, often with systemic B symptoms. Even in the advanced stages of the disease, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or combination therapy are the available treatment.

The first description of the so-called Hodgkin’s disease dates back to 1832 when the eminent British pathologist Thomas Hodgkin described an autopsy case with lymphadenopathy and enlarged spleen​2​. It was not until the late 1990s that the term “Hodgkin’s lymphoma” became popular when it was understood to be a malignancy arising from germinal center or post-germinal center B cells​3​. Therefore, Hodgkin’s lymphoma characteristically form a small number of tumors surrounded by a reactive inflammatory environment consisting of lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, histiocytes, and plasma cells. Hence, these malignant cells are abnormal multinucleated giant cells or large mononuclear cells and it is collectively Hodgkin’s and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells.


  1. 1.
    Howlader N. SEER cancer statistics review. National Cancer Institute. Published 2013. Accessed March 2022. https://seer.cancer.gov/archive/csr/1975_2010/
  2. 2.
    Hodgkin. On some Morbid Appearances of the Absorbent Glands and Spleen. Med Chir Trans. 1832;17:68-114. doi:10.1177/095952873201700106
  3. 3.
    E. S. J. Pathology and Genetics of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues. Vol 3. IARC; 2001.