Blood cancers, including the main types leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, are the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. While there are no means of preventing or screening for most blood cancers, recent breakthroughs for lymphoma treatment are improving quality of life and survival.
Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell of the lymphatic system which play a key role in the body’s immune system. The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma, in which there is a particular type of abnormal lymphocyte called a Reed-Sternberg cell in the lymph nodes, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, in which there is an absence of Reed-Sternberg cells. There are many different subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that can be either slow or fast growing.
Treatment for Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma depends on the type, stage and unique biological features of the cancer. In addition to existing chemotherapy and radiation, new treatment developments include targeted antibody therapies, immunotherapies, enzyme inhibitors, medications that slow tumor growth and gene therapies. In many cases, these new procedures offer substantial improvements over existing therapies because they are more effective, have fewer side effects and do not carry the same risks.
This year alone, the Food and Drug Administration approved two medications that significantly expand treatment options for lymphoma. The first is an immunotherapy drug called pembrolizumab, which can be used to treat for refractory Hodgkin lymphoma in children and adults who have been treated with at least three prior therapies. The second options is the enzyme inhibitor copanlisib which treats adults with relapsed follicular lymphoma, a type of slow-growing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, who have received at least two prior lines of systemic therapy.
Additionally, a chemotherapy-free treatment regimen for follicular lymphoma is showing promise in clinical trials and may provide a reasonable alternative to chemotherapy for some patients.
As treatment developments for lymphoma and other hematologic cancers continually advance, it's important to be diagnosed and treated at a comprehensive cancer center. NewYork-Presbyterian is leading groundbreaking research initiatives to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of lymphoma.
NewYork-Presbyterian Cancer Centers provide high-quality, comprehensive cancer care at convenient locations throughout the New York metropolitan area, Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley and provide a comprehensive program of cancer services in state-of-the-art, comfortable environments. Board certified, disease-focused hematologic and medical oncologists collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists to provide each patient with an individualized plan of care. To find a location, visit nyp.org/cancerlocations.
NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the largest and most comprehensive hospitals in the nation, ranked New York’s No. 1 hospital for the 16th consecutive year, and No. 6 in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Affiliated with two academic medical colleges – Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian brings together internationally recognized researchers and clinicians to develop and implement the latest approaches for prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center is one of only three NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in New York State. NewYork-Presbyterian provides comprehensive cancer care at all of our locations across the New York Metro area, including Westchester County and the Hudson Valley. Learn more at nyp.org/cancer.