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Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It is a malignant condition (cancer) affecting a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes.

Unlike leukaemia, in lymphoma, the cancer cells are found in organs and tissues of the lymphatic system although occasionally it can be spread to the bone marrow. The lymphatic system is a network of fine vessels, glands and channels which occur throughout the body. It also conveys nutrients and cells, and is responsible for draining fluid and waste products away from tissues, and into the blood stream to be processed. The lymphatic system is an important part of the immune system and is made up of lymph nodes and vessels and of collections of lymphocytes in other tissues.

DLBCL is a high-grade form of NHL, this means that it develops quickly and, if not treated, it grows quickly. Diffuse describes the appearance of affected lymph nodes under the microscope and large B cell describes the type of lymphocyte which is affected.

  • Published: Mar 2017
  • Next planned review: Mar 2019