Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is an aggressive blood cancer that originates in the lymphatic system and affects B-lymphocytes, which is a type of white blood cell that helps to fight infection. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and can occur in one area of the body or throughout the body, and mainly occurs in individuals over the age of 60.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is categorized by the following subtypes:
T-cell/histiocyte-rich B-cell lymphoma – This subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma has some scattered large and atypical B cells mixed with many normal T cells and histocytes (immune system cells).
Primary diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the central nervous system – This subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma originates in either the brain or eye and can be a secondary development.
Primary cutaneous diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, leg type – This subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is composed of large transformed B cells that create red or bluish-red tumors and can also involve the arms, trunk, buttocks, legs, or other areas.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the elderly – This subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma mainly occurs in patients over the age of 50 who test positive for the Epstein-Barr virus.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma not otherwise specified (NOS) – This subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is for any that does not fall into one of the above classifications and represents 25-30% of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in western countries.
In addition to subtypes, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is classified into the following stages:
Stage I – The diffuse large B-cell lymphoma appears in one lymph node area or a cluster of nearby lymph nodes.
Stage II – The diffuse large B-cell lymphoma appears in two lymph node area or has spread (metastasized) to one organ and nearby lymph nodes but is limited to an area of the body above or below the diaphragm.
Stage III – The diffuse large B-cell lymphoma appears in lymph nodes both above and below the diaphragm and may also appear in the spleen.
Stage IV – This advanced stage diffuse large B-cell lymphoma appears in several areas of one or more organs and tissues and may also affect the liver, lungs, or bones.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is further classified by A or B to denote whether the patient is experiencing any significant symptoms (A), or if the patient has significant symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, persistent fever, or severe night sweats (B).