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National Cancer Institute
Last Modified: November 26, 2012
Fortunately, cancer in children and adolescents is rare, although the overall incidence of childhood cancer has been slowly increasing since 1975. 1 Children and adolescents with cancer should be referred to medical centers that have a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists with experience treating the cancers that occur during childhood and adolescence. This multidisciplinary team approach incorporates the skills of the primary care physician, pediatric surgical subspecialists, radiation oncologists, pediatric medical oncologists/hematologists, rehabilitation specialists, pediatric nurse specialists, social workers, and others to ensure that children receive treatment, supportive care, and rehabilitation that will achieve optimal survival and quality of life. (Refer to the PDQ® Supportive and Palliative Care summaries for specific information about supportive care for children and adolescents with cancer.)
Guidelines for pediatric cancer centers and their role in the treatment of children with cancer have been outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics. 2 At these pediatric cancer centers, clinical trials are available for most of the types of cancer that occur in children and adolescents, and the opportunity to participate in these trials is offered to most patients/families. Clinical trials for children and adolescents with cancer are generally designed to compare potentially better therapy with therapy that is currently accepted as standard. Most of the progress made in identifying curative therapies for childhood cancers has been achieved through clinical trials. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.
Dramatic improvements in survival have been achieved for children and adolescents with cancer. 1 Between 1975 and 2002, childhood cancer mortality has decreased by more than 50%. For non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), the 5-year survival rate has increased over the same time period from 45% to 88% in children younger than 15 years and from 47% to 77% for adolescents aged 15 to 19 years. 1 Childhood and adolescent cancer survivors require close follow-up because cancer therapy side effects may persist or develop months or years after treatment. (Refer to the PDQ® summary on the Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer for specific information about the incidence, type, and monitoring of late effects in childhood and adolescent cancer survivors.)
Lymphoma (Hodgkin lymphoma and NHL) is the third most common childhood malignancy, and NHL accounts for approximately 7% of cancers in children younger than 20 years. 3 4 In the United States, about 800 new cases of NHL are diagnosed each year. The incidence is approximately ten cases per million people per year. The incidence of NHL observed in children and adolescents varies depending on age, histology, gender, and race. 3 Although there is no sharp age peak, childhood NHL occurs most commonly in the second decade of life, and occurs infrequently in children younger than 3 years. 3 NHL in infants is very rare (1% in Berlin-Frankfurt-Munster [BFM] trials from 1986 to 2002). 5 The incidence of NHL is increasing overall, which is accounted for because of a slight increase in the incidence for those aged 15 to 19 years; however, the incidence of NHL in children younger than 15 years has remained constant over the past several decades. 3
Childhood NHL is more common in males than in females, with the exception of primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma, in which the incidence is almost the same in males and females. 3 6 A review of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data on Burkitt lymphoma diagnosed in the United States between 1992 and 2008 revealed 2.5 cases/million person-years with more cases in males than in females (3.9:1.1). The incidence of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma increases with age in both males and females. The incidence of lymphoblastic lymphoma remains relatively constant across ages for both males and females.
|Incidence of NHL per million person-years|
|Other (mostly ALCL)||2.3||3.3||4.3||7.8b||1.5||1.6||2.8||3.4b|
|ALCL = anaplastic large cell lymphoma; DLBCL = diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; NHL = non-Hodgkin lymphoma.|
The incidence of NHL is higher in whites than in African Americans, and Burkitt lymphoma is more frequent in non-Hispanic whites (3.2 cases/million person-years) than in Hispanic whites (2.0 cases/million person-years). 7
Relatively little is known of the epidemiology of childhood NHL. However, immunodeficiency, both congenital and acquired (human immunodeficiency virus infection [HIV] or posttransplant immunodeficiency), increases the risk of NHL. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with most cases of NHL seen in the immunodeficient population. 3 Although 85% or more of Burkitt lymphoma is associated with the EBV in endemic Africa, approximately 15% of cases in Europe or the United States will have EBV detectable in the tumor tissue. 8
NHL presenting as a secondary malignancy is rare in pediatrics. A retrospective review of the German Childhood Cancer Registry identified 11 (0.3%) of 2,968 newly diagnosed children older than 20 years with NHL as having a secondary malignancy. 9 In this small cohort, outcome was similar to patients with de novo NHL when treated with standard therapy. 9
With current treatments, more than 80% of children and adolescents with NHL will survive at least 5 years, though outcome is variable depending on a number of factors, including clinical stage and histology. 10
Adolescents have been reported to have inferior outcome compared with younger children. 10 11 12 13 A review of survival for various subtypes of NHL in children and adolescents between 1986 and 2007 has been reported by the BFM group. A review of survival for various subtypes of NHL in children and adolescents between 1986 and 2007 has been reported by the BFM group. 13 Event-free survival (EFS) was 79% for adolescents and 85% for children. This adverse affect of age appears to be most pronounced for adolescents with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma compared with children with these diagnoses. Event-free survival (EFS) was 79% for adolescents and 85% for children. This adverse affect of age appears to be most pronounced for adolescents with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma compared with children with these diagnoses. 13 The poorer outcome of patients older than 15 years appears to be attributable primarily to patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. The poorer outcome of patients older than 15 years appears to be attributable primarily to patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. 10 On the other hand, for patients with Burkitt and Burkitt-like lymphoma on the On the other hand, for patients with Burkitt and Burkitt-like lymphoma on the FAB LMB 96 (COG-C5961)FAB LMB 96 (COG-C5961) clinical trial, adolescent age ( 15 years) was not an independent risk factor for inferior outcome, with 3-year EFS of 89% 1.0% for children younger than 15 years and 84% 3.4% for patients aged 15 years and older. clinical trial, adolescent age ( 15 years) was not an independent risk factor for inferior outcome, with 3-year EFS of 89% 1.0% for children younger than 15 years and 84% 3.4% for patients aged 15 years and older. 14
In anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a retrospective study by the European Intergroup for Childhood NHL (EICNHL) found a high-risk group of patients defined by involvement of mediastinum, skin, or viscera. 26 An immune response against the ALK protein (i.e., anti-ALK antibody titer) appears to correlate with lower clinical stage and absence of these clinical risk features (mediastinal and visceral organ involvement) and predicts relapse risk but not overall survival. An immune response against the ALK protein (i.e., anti-ALK antibody titer) appears to correlate with lower clinical stage and absence of these clinical risk features (mediastinal and visceral organ involvement) and predicts relapse risk but not overall survival. 27 However, in the However, in the CCG-5941CCG-5941 study for anaplastic large cell lymphoma patients, only bone marrow involvement predicted inferior progression-free survival. study for anaplastic large cell lymphoma patients, only bone marrow involvement predicted inferior progression-free survival. 28[[Level of evidence: 2ALevel of evidence: 2A] Patients with leukemic involvement (] Patients with leukemic involvement (>>25% blasts in marrow) or CNS involvement at diagnosis require intensive therapy.25% blasts in marrow) or CNS involvement at diagnosis require intensive therapy. 17 25 29 Although these intensive therapies have improved the outcome for patients with high-stage (stage III or IV) or advanced-stage disease, patients who present with CNS disease have the worst outcome. Although these intensive therapies have improved the outcome for patients with high-stage (stage III or IV) or advanced-stage disease, patients who present with CNS disease have the worst outcome. 17 25 29 The combination of CNS involvement and marrow disease appears to impact outcome the most for Burkitt lymphoma/leukemia. The combination of CNS involvement and marrow disease appears to impact outcome the most for Burkitt lymphoma/leukemia. 25 Patients with leukemic Patients with leukemic disease only, and no CNS disease, had a 3-year EFS of 90%, while patients with CNS disease at presentation had a 70% 3-year EFS.disease only, and no CNS disease, had a 3-year EFS of 90%, while patients with CNS disease at presentation had a 70% 3-year EFS. 25
More recently, detection of minimal disease at diagnosis or minimal residual disease (MRD) appears to be prognostic in most subtypes of childhood NHL. In a retrospective subset analysis, there was evidence that submicroscopic bone marrow and peripheral blood involvement, detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from NPM-ALK, was found in approximately 50% of patients and correlated with clinical stage; 34 marrow involvement detected by PCR was associated with a 50% cumulative incidence of relapse. The prognostic role of MRD in the treatment of Burkitt leukemia remains unclear. marrow involvement detected by PCR was associated with a 50% cumulative incidence of relapse. The prognostic role of MRD in the treatment of Burkitt leukemia remains unclear. 35 36 37
In children, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is distinct from the more common forms of lymphoma observed in adults. While lymphomas in adults are more commonly low or intermediate grade, almost all NHL that occurs in children is high grade. 1 2 3 The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified NHL on the basis of the following: (1) phenotype (i.e., B-lineage and T-lineage or natural killer [NK] cell lineage) and (2) differentiation (i.e., precursor vs. mature). 4
NHL associated with immunodeficiency generally has a mature B-cell phenotype and is more often of large cell than Burkitt histology. 5 Posttransplant lymphoproliferative diseases are classified according to WHO nomenclature as (1) early lesions, (2) polymorphic, and (3) monomorphic. 6 While the majority of posttransplant lymphoproliferative diseases are of B-cell phenotype, approximately 10% are mature (peripheral) T-cell lymphomas. 6
Other types of lymphoma, such as peripheral T-cell lymphoma, T/NK lymphomas, cutaneous lymphomas, and indolent B-cell lymphomas (e.g., follicular lymphoma), are more commonly seen in adults and occur rarely in children. Refer to the following PDQ® summaries for more information:
Each type of childhood NHL is associated with distinctive molecular biological characteristics, which are outlined in the following table. The Revised European-American Lymphoma (REAL) classification and the WHO classification are the most current NHL classifications utilized and are shown below. 2 The Working Formulation is also listed for reference. The WHO classification applies the principles of the REAL classification and focuses on the specific type of lymphoma for therapy purposes. For the most part, the remaining categories do not pertain to pediatric NHL and are not shown.
|Category (WHO Classification/ Updated REAL)||Category (Working Formulation)||Immuno-phenotype||Clinical Presentation||Chromosome Translocation||Genes Affected|
|Burkitt and Burkitt-like lymphomas||ML small noncleaved cell||Mature B cell||Intra-abdominal (sporadic), head and neck (non-jaw, sporadic), jaw (endemic), bone marrow, CNS||t(8;14)(q24;q32), t(2;8)(p11;q24), t(8;22)(q24;q11)||C-MYC, IGH, IGK, IGL|
|Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma||ML large cell||Mature B cell; maybe CD30+||Nodal, abdominal, bone, primary CNS (when associated with immunodeficiency), mediastinal||No consistent cytogenetic abnormality identified|
|Lymphoblastic lymphoma, precursor T-cell leukemia, or precursor B-cell lymphoma||Lymphoblastic convoluted and non-convoluted||Pre-T cell||Mediastinal, bone marrow||MTS1/p16ink4a; Deletion TAL1 t(1;14)(p34;q11), t(11;14)(p13;q11)||TAL1, TCRAO, RHOMB1, HOX11|
|Pre-B cell||Skin, bone, mediastinal|
|Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, systemic||ML immunoblastic or ML large||CD30+ (Ki-1+)||Variable, but systemic symptoms often prominent||t(2;5)(p23;q35); less common variant translocations involving ALK||ALK, NPM|
|T cell or null cell|
|Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, cutaneous||CD30+ (Ki-usually)||Skin only; single or multiple lesions||Lacks t(2;5)|
|CNS = central nervous system; ML = malignant lymphoma; REAL = Revised European-American Lymphoma; WHO = World Health Organization.|
Burkitt and Burkitt-like lymphoma/leukemia in the United States accounts for about 30% of childhood NHL and exhibits consistent, aggressive clinical behavior. 2 3 7 The overall incidence of Burkitt lymphoma is 2.5 cases per million person-years and is higher among boys than girls (3.9 vs. 1.1). 2 8 The most common primary sites of disease are the abdomen and the lymph nodes, especially of the head and neck region. 3 8 Other sites of involvement include testes, bone, skin, bone marrow, and central nervous system (CNS).
The malignant cells show a mature B-cell phenotype and are negative for the enzyme terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT). These malignant cells usually express surface immunoglobulin, most bearing surface immunoglobulin M with either kappa or lambda light chains. A variety of additional B-cell markers (e.g., CD20, CD22) are usually present, and almost all childhood Burkitt/Burkitt-like lymphoma/leukemia express CALLA (CD10). Burkitt lymphoma/leukemia expresses a characteristic chromosomal translocation, usually t(8;14) and more rarely t(8;22) or t(2;8). Each of these translocations juxtaposes the c-myc oncogene and immunoglobulin locus regulatory elements, resulting in the inappropriate expression of c-myc, a gene involved in cellular proliferation. 3
The distinction between Burkitt and Burkitt-like lymphoma/leukemia is controversial. Burkitt lymphoma consists of uniform, small, noncleaved cells, whereas Burkitt-like lymphoma is a highly disputed diagnosis among pathologists because of features that are consistent with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. 9 Cytogenetic evidence of c-myc rearrangement is the gold standard for diagnosis of Burkitt lymphoma. For cases in which cytogenetic analysis is not available, the WHO has recommended that the Burkitt-like diagnosis be reserved for lymphoma resembling Burkitt lymphoma or with more pleomorphism, large cells, and a proliferation fraction (i.e., Ki-67[+] of 99%). 7 Studies have demonstrated that the vast majority of Burkitt-like or atypical Burkitt lymphomas have a gene expression signature similar to Burkitt lymphoma. 10 Additionally, as many as 30% of pediatric diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cases will have a gene signature similar to Burkitt lymphoma. 10 11 Despite the histologic differences, Burkitt and Burkitt-like lymphoma/leukemia are clinically very aggressive and are treated with very aggressive regimens. 12 13 14 15
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is a mature B-cell neoplasm that represents 10% to 20% of pediatric NHL. 2 3 16 Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma occurs more frequently during the second decade of life than during the first decade. 2 17 18 The WHO classification system does not recommend morphologic subclassification based on morphologic variants (e.g., immunoblastic, centroblastic) of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. 19 Pediatric diffuse large B-cell lymphoma may present clinically similar to Burkitt or Burkitt-like lymphoma, though it is more often localized and less often involves the bone marrow or CNS. 16 17 20
About 20% of pediatric diffuse large B-cell lymphoma presents as primary mediastinal disease (primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma). This presentation is more common in older children and adolescents and has been associated with an inferior outcome compared with other pediatric diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. 13 14 17 21 22 23 Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma is associated with distinctive chromosomal aberrations (gains in chromosome 9p and 2p in regions that involve JAK2 and c-rel, respectively) 22 23 and commonly shows inactivation of SOCS1 by either mutation or gene deletion. 24 25 Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma also has a distinctive gene expression profile in comparison with other diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, suggesting a close relationship of primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma with Hodgkin lymphoma. 26 27
With the exception of primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in children and adolescents differs biologically from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in adults. The vast majority of pediatric diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cases have a germinal center B-cell phenotype, as assessed by immunohistochemical analysis of selected proteins found in normal germinal center B cells, such as the BCL6 gene product and CD10. 18 28 29 Unlike adult diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the germinal center B-cell type, in which the t(14;18) translocation involving the immunoglobulin heavy-chain gene and the BCL2 gene is commonly observed, pediatric diffuse large B-cell lymphoma rarely demonstrates the t(14;18) translocation. 18 As many as 30% of patients younger than 14 years with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma will have a gene signature similar to Burkitt lymphoma. 10 A subset of pediatric diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cases were found to have a translocation that juxtaposes the IRF4 oncogene next to one of the immunoglobulin loci. diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cases with an IRF4 translocation were significantly more frequent in children than adults (15% vs. 2%), were germinal centerderived B-cell lymphomas, and were associated with favorable prognosis compared with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cases lacking this abnormality. 30
Lymphoblastic lymphoma comprises approximately 20% of childhood NHL. 2 3 17 Lymphoblastic lymphomas are usually positive for TdT, with more than 75% having a T-cell immunophenotype and the remainder having a precursor B-cell phenotype. 3 31 Chromosomal abnormalities are not well characterized in patients with lymphoblastic lymphoma.
As many as 75% of patients with lymphoblastic lymphoma will present with an anterior mediastinal mass, which may manifest as dyspnea, wheezing, stridor, dysphagia, or swelling of the head and neck. Pleural effusions may be present, and the involvement of lymph nodes, usually above the diaphragm, may be a prominent feature. There may also be involvement of bone, skin, bone marrow, CNS, abdominal organs (but rarely bowel), and occasionally other sites such as lymphoid tissue of Waldeyer ring and testes. Abdominal involvement is less than observed in Burkitt lymphoma. Low-stage lymphoblastic lymphoma may occur in lymph nodes, bone, testes, or subcutaneous tissue. Lymphoblastic lymphoma within the mediastinum is not considered low-stage disease.
Involvement of the bone marrow may lead to confusion as to whether the patient has lymphoma with bone marrow involvement or leukemia with extramedullary disease. Traditionally, patients with more than 25% marrow blasts are considered to have leukemia, and those with fewer than 25% marrow blasts are considered to have lymphoma. It is not yet clear whether these arbitrary definitions are biologically distinct or relevant for treatment design.
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma accounts for approximately 10% of childhood NHL. 17 While the predominant immunophenotype of anaplastic large cell lymphoma is mature T-cell, null-cell disease (i.e., no T-cell, B-cell, or NK-cell surface antigen expression) does occur. The WHO classification system classifies anaplastic large cell lymphoma as a peripheral T-cell lymphoma. 4 Many view ALK-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma differently than other peripheral T-cell lymphoma because prognosis tends to be superior to other forms of peripheral T-cell lymphoma. 32 All anaplastic large cell lymphoma cases are CD30-positive and more than 90% of pediatric anaplastic large cell lymphoma cases have a chromosomal rearrangement involving the ALK gene. About 85% of these chromosomal rearrangements will be t(2;5)(p23;q35), leading to the expression of the fusion protein NPM-ALK; the other 15% of cases are comprised of variant ALK translocations. 33 Anti-ALK immunohistochemical staining pattern is quite specific for the type of ALK translocation. Cytoplasm and nuclear ALK staining is associated with NPM-ALK fusion protein, whereas cytoplasmic staining only of ALK is associated with the variant ALK translocations. 33 There is no correlation between outcome and ALK translocation type. 34 In a series of 375 children and adolescents with systemic ALK-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma, the presence of a small cell or lymphohistiocytic component was observed in 32% of patients and was significantly associated with a high risk of failure in the multivariate analysis, controlling for clinical characteristics (hazard ratio, 2.0; P = .002). 35
Clinically, systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma has a broad range of presentations, including involvement of lymph nodes and a variety of extranodal sites, particularly skin and bone and, less often, gastrointestinal tract, lung, pleura, and muscle. Involvement of the CNS and bone marrow is uncommon. anaplastic large cell lymphoma is often associated with systemic symptoms (e.g., fever, weight loss) and a prolonged waxing and waning course, making diagnosis difficult and often delayed. Patients with anaplastic large cell lymphoma may present with signs and symptoms consistent with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. 36 There is a subgroup of anaplastic large cell lymphoma with leukemic peripheral blood involvement. These patients usually exhibit significant respiratory distress with diffuse lung infiltrates or pleural effusions and have hepatosplenomegaly. Most of these patients have an aberrant T-cell immunophenotype with frequent expression of myeloid antigens. Patients in this anaplastic large cell lymphoma subgroup may require more aggressive therapy. 37 38
The incidence of lymphoproliferative disease or lymphoma is 100-fold higher in immunocompromised children than in the general population. The cause of such immune deficiencies may be a genetically inherited defect, secondary to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, or iatrogenic following transplantation (solid organ transplantation or allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation [HSCT]). Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with most of these tumors, but some tumors are not associated with any infectious agent.
NHL associated with HIV is usually aggressive, with most cases occurring in extralymphatic sites. 39 HIV-associated NHL can be broadly grouped into three subcategories: (1) systemic (nodal and extranodal), (2) primary CNS lymphoma, and (3) body cavitybased lymphoma, also referred to as primary effusion lymphoma. Approximately 80% of all NHL in HIV patients is considered to be systemic. 39 Primary effusion lymphoma, a unique lymphomatous effusion associated with the human herpesvirus-8 (HHV8) gene or Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus, is primarily observed in adults infected with HIV but has been reported in HIV-infected children. 40 Highly active antiretroviral therapy has decreased the incidence of NHL in HIV-positive individuals, particularly for primary CNS lymphoma cases. 41 Most childhood HIV-related NHL is of mature B-cell phenotype but with a spectrum, including primary effusion lymphoma, primary CNS lymphoma, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT), 42 Burkitt lymphoma, 43 and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. NHL in children with HIV often presents with fever, weight loss, and symptoms related to extranodal disease, such as abdominal pain or CNS symptoms. 39
NHL observed in primary immunodeficiency usually shows a mature B-cell phenotype and large cell histology. 5 Mature T-cell lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma have been observed. 5 Children with primary immunodeficiency and NHL are more likely to have high-stage disease and present with symptoms related to extranodal disease, particularly the gastrointestinal tract and CNS. 5
PTLD represents a spectrum of clinically and morphologically heterogeneous lymphoid proliferations. Essentially all PTLD following HSCT is associated with EBV, but EBV-negative PTLD can be seen following solid organ transplant. 44 The WHO has classified PTLD into the following three subtypes: 6
The B-cell stimulation by EBV may result in multiple clones of proliferating B cells, and both polymorphous and monomorphous histologies may be present in a patient, even within the same lesion of PTLD. 45 Thus, histology of a single biopsied site may not be representative of the entire disease process. Not all PTLD is B-cell phenotype. 6 EBV lymphoproliferative disease posttransplant may manifest as isolated hepatitis, lymphoid interstitial pneumonitis, meningoencephalitis, or an infectious mononucleosis-like syndrome. The definition of PTLD is frequently limited to lymphomatous lesions (low stage or high stage), which are often extranodal (frequently in the allograft). 44 Although less common, PTLD may present as a rapidly progressive, high-stage disease that clinically resembles septic shock, which almost always results in death despite therapy. 46
Low- or intermediate-grade mature B-cell lymphomas, such as small lymphocytic lymphoma, MALT lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, myeloma, or follicular cell lymphoma, are rarely seen in children. The most recent WHO classification has identified pediatric follicular lymphoma and pediatric nodal marginal zone lymphoma as unique entities. 1
Pediatric follicular lymphoma is a disease that differs from the adult counterpart genetically and clinically. The genetic hallmark of adult follicular lymphoma, the translocation of t(14;18)(q32;q21), is typically not detectable in pediatric follicular lymphoma. Pediatric follicular lymphoma is more likely to be localized disease, in contrast to adult follicular lymphoma, which usually presents as disseminated disease. Cervical lymph nodes and tonsils are common sites, but disease has also occurred in extranodal sites such as the testis, kidney, gastrointestinal tract, and parotid. 47 48 49 50 The outcome of pediatric follicular lymphoma is excellent, and in contrast to adult follicular lymphoma, the clinical course is not dominated by relapses, if the BFM protocols for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and BL are used. In pediatric follicular lymphoma, a simultaneous diffuse large B-cell lymphoma can frequently be detected at initial diagnosis but does not indicate a more aggressive clinical course in children. 48 49
Other diseases appear to reflect the disease observed in adult patients. For example, MALT lymphomas observed in pediatric patients usually present as low-stage (stage I or II) disease and are associated with H. pylori and require no more than local therapy involving curative surgery and/or radiation therapy. 51 Intralesional interferon-alpha for conjunctival MALT lymphoma has been described. 52
Other types of NHL may be rare in adults and are exceedingly rare in pediatric patients, such as primary CNS lymphoma. Due to small numbers, it is difficult to ascertain if the disease observed in children is the same as in adults and, therefore, it is difficult to determine optimal therapy. Reports suggest that the outcome of pediatric patients with primary CNS lymphoma (overall survival 70%80%) may be superior to that of adults with primary CNS lymphoma. These reports suggest that long-term survival can be achieved wit
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