Lymphocyte-Depleted Classical Hodgkin lymphoma (LDHL) is one of the rarest types of Hodgkin’s disease, a variety of blood cancer, comprising only 1 percent of the diagnosed forms of the disease in the world.
LDHL commonly affects older patients and younger patients with drastically compromised or weakened immune systems. Unlike most forms of lymphoma, which affect the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, or groin, LDHL masses commonly develop in the abdomen.
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms can vary from patient to patient, but the most common LDHL symptoms are:
- Pain in the bones and/or joints
- Persistent low-grade fever
- Bruising or bleeding easily
- Slow-healing wounds
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen lymph glands in the abdomen
- Weight loss
- Itchy skin
Diagnosis & Treatment
In order to make a thorough diagnosis, a doctor will likely order a series of tests to determine which areas of the body are affected by the disease—called staging. These tests can include a physical exam, blood tests, imaging scans which might include an MRI—magnetic resonance imaging—which can provide a detailed image of the affected area, a CT or CAT scan, or an x-ray.
Most cases of LDHL are diagnosed after the tumors have advanced significantly and/or affected the patient’s spleen, liver, or bone marrow. A biopsy, or collecting a sample of bone marrow and examining it under a microscope, provides the most accurate diagnosis of LDHL.
Chemotherapy and radiation, or some combination of the two, are typically used to treat LDHL. In severe cases, a patient may need a bone marrow transplant, in which damaged or destroyed bone marrow stem cells are replaced with healthy cells.
Unlike many other forms of lymphoma, whose prognoses depend on the size, location, and stage of the mass, with LDHL the stage of the patient’s condition is the most important factor to their survival rate. Many patients with stage I or II Hodgkin’s lymphoma can expect a five-year survival rate of 85 percent if the patient has received the proper courses of treatment. The earlier a patient receives treatment, the better their prognosis.