Treatments for childhood diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
The following are treatment options for childhood diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).The healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your child’s needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatments are often based on the stage or risk group.
First-line therapy for childhood DLBCL
First-line therapy is the first or most common treatment used. The following may be used as first-line therapy for DLBCL.
In general, a surgical or open biopsy is done by a surgeon to make the correct diagnosis. Rarely, if the lymphoma is only in one area of the body, such as the abdomen, surgery may be done to remove it before chemotherapy is given.
Chemotherapy is the main treatment for childhood DLBCL. How long chemotherapy is given depends on the risk group and the treatment plan (called the protocol). It may be given for 9 weeks to 6 months for stage 1 or 2 DLBCL and for 6 to 8 months for stage 3 or 4 DLBCL.
Chemotherapy drugs are given in different combinations based on different treatment plans. The most common chemotherapy drugs used in combinations for DLBCL include:
- cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Procytox)
- vincristine (Oncovin)
- cytarabine (Cytosar, Ara-C)
- etoposide (Vepesid, VP-16)
- doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
- dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexasone)
- daunorubicin (Cerubidine, daunomycin)
- L-asparaginase (Kidrolase)
- mercaptopurine (Purinethol, 6-MP)
- thioguanine (Lanvis, 6-TG)
Intrathecal chemotherapy may be given to prevent spread of NHL to the brain and spinal cord (called the central nervous system, or CNS) or to treat NHL that has spread to the CNS. This means that the drugs are given directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) around the brain and spinal cord. Intrathecal chemotherapy can include 1 to 3 of the following drugs:
Recurrent childhood DLBCL
Some chemotherapy combinations used for recurrent childhood DLBCL include:
- dexamethasone, etoposide, cisplatin (Platinol AQ), cytarabine and asparaginase
- ifosfamide (Ifex), carboplatin (Paraplatin, Paraplatin AQ), etoposide and rituximab (Rituxan)
Many children with childhood DLBCL will be treated in a clinical trial that is tailored to the risk group or stage of their disease. The clinical trial protocol, or plan, outlines the treatments used (such as chemotherapy or targeted therapy), as well as the drugs and dosages used. Find out more about clinical trials.
Referring to DNA, cells, tissues or organs taken (harvested) from a donor to be given to a recipient who is a close, but not identical, genetic match.
For example, an allogeneic stem cell transplant takes blood or bone marrow from a donor (usually a first-degree relative) and gives it to a recipient.
Referring to DNA, cells, tissues or organs taken (harvested) from a person’s own body to be stored and given back to the same person.
For example, in an autologous stem cell transplant, blood or bone marrow is taken from a person, stored and later given back to the same person.
Autologous transplant is also called autotransplant or autograft.
I was in total shock when I heard the diagnosis of cancer. Cancer to me was an adult’s disease. Being a 13-year-old teenager, it certainly wasn’t even on my radar.
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.