Hodgkin lymphoma: pathology and biology


  • S. Mathas
  • S. Hartmann
  • R. Küppers


  • Seminars in Hematology


  • Semin Hematol 53 (3): 139-147


  • The Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) tumor cells of classical Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), as well as the lymphocyte predominant (LP) cells of nodular lymphocyte predominant HL (NLPHL), are derived from mature B cells. However, HRS cells have largely lost their B-cell phenotype and show a very unusual expression of many markers of other hematopoietic cell lineages, which aids in the differential diagnosis between classical HL (cHL) and NLPHL and distinguishes cHL from all other hematopoietic malignancies. The bi- or multinucleated Reed-Sternberg cells most likely derive from the mononuclear Hodgkin cells through a process of incomplete cytokinesis. HRS cells show a deregulated activation of numerous signaling pathways, which is partly mediated by cellular interactions in the lymphoma microenvironment and partly by genetic lesions. In a fraction of cases, Epstein-Barr virus contributes to the pathogenesis of cHL. Recurrent genetic lesions in HRS cells identified so far often involve members of the nuclear factor-{kappa}B (NF-{kappa}B) and JAK/STAT pathways and genes involved in major histocompatibility complex expression. However, further lead transforming events likely remain to be identified. We here discuss the current knowledge on HL pathology and biology.