Treatments for Large Cell Lymphoma in Children

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Treatment options will vary greatly, depending on your child's situation. Your doctor and other members of your care team will discuss the options with you in-depth. Prompt medical attention and aggressive therapy are important.

Traditional treatments for large cell lymphoma

Treatments for large cell lymphomamay involve a combination of therapies including:


Surgery usually plays a limited role in the treatment of lymphoma. In some instances, a child may need to have a tumor removed. This may be the case if, for example, the tumor compresses the airway and/or the heart and major vessels. Surgery in this area may entail considerable risk, and must be carefully orchestrated between the surgeon, oncologist and anesthesiologist.

Radiation therapy

Our doctors use precisely targeted and dosed radiation to kill cancer cells left behind after your child's surgery.


Chemotherapy is a drug that interferes with the cancer cell's ability to grow or reproduce.

  • Different groups of chemotherapy drugs work in different ways to fight cancer cells and shrink tumors.
  • Often, a combination of chemotherapy drugs is used.
  • Certain chemotherapy drugs may be given in a specific order depending on the type of cancer it is being used to treat.

While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating certain cancers, the agents do not differentiate normal healthy cells from cancer cells. Because of this, there can be many adverse side effects during treatment. Being able to anticipate these side effects can help the care team, parents, and child prepare, and, in some cases, prevent these symptoms from occurring, if possible.

Chemotherapy is systemic treatment, meaning it is introduced to the bloodstream and travels throughout the body to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given:

  • as a pill to swallow
  • as an injection into the muscle or fat tissue
  • intravenously (IV), directly to the bloodstream
  • intrathecally, directly into the spinal column with a needle

Stem cell transplant

Transplantation of normal stem cells from another person is used to help restore normal blood production in you child, whose own ability to make any or all of these blood cells has been compromised by cancer, intensive cancer treatment or other types of damage or abnormality.

Supportive care

This is any type of treatment to prevent and treat infections, side effects of treatments, and complications and to keep your child comfortable during treatment.

What is the recommended long-term care for children treated for large cell lymphoma?

Children treated for large cell lymphoma should visit a survivorship clinic every year to:

  • manage disease complications
  • screen for early recurrence of cancer
  • manage late effects of treatment

A typical follow-up visit may include some or all of the following:

  • a physical exam
  • laboratory testing
  • imaging scans

Through the David B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, childhood cancer survivors receive a comprehensive follow-up evaluation from their cancer care team.

  • Our childhood cancer survivorship clinic is held weekly.
  • In addition to meeting with your pediatric oncologists, your child may see one of our endocrinologists, cardiologists, neurologists, neuro-psychologists or alternative/complementary therapy specialists.
  • We also offer the following services:
    • patient and family education
    • psychosocial assessment
    • genetic counseling
    • reproductive and fertility evaluation and counseling
    • opportunities to speak with other childhood cancer survivors
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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