What is nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL)?

Updated: Sep 12, 2018
  • Author: Bradley W Lash, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL) constitutes 5% of cases. It is a distinct clinical entity and is not considered part of the classical Hodgkin lymphoma type. Typical Reed-Sternberg cells are either infrequent or absent in NLPHL. Instead, lymphocytic and histiocytic (L&H) cells, or "popcorn cells" (their nuclei resemble an exploded kernel of corn), are seen within a background of inflammatory cells, which are predominantly benign lymphocytes (see the image below). Unlike Reed-Sternberg cells, L&H cells are positive for B-cell antigens, such as CD20, and are negative for CD15 and CD30.

Very high magnification micrograph of nodular lymp Very high magnification micrograph of nodular lymphoctye predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL), with a popcorn-shaped Reed-Sternberg cell (hematoxylin and eosin).

A diagnosis of NLPHL needs to be supported by immunohistochemical studies, because it can appear similar to LRHL or even some non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

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