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What is large cell lymphoma?

Large cell lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It's a cancer in the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system, which works to fight disease and infections. Large cell lymphoma may develop in the lymph system tissue in the neck, chest, throat, or abdomen. Two of the more common types of large cell lymphoma include diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is more common in adults than in children, but it behaves and is treated very differently in children than in adults. It is generally very curable in children and adolescents. In children, this lymphoma is usually treated like Burkitt lymphoma.

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) can emerge in lymph tissue in the neck, chest, abdomen, lungs, skin, or bone. About 10 percent of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases in children are anaplastic large cell lymphoma. When anaplastic large cell lymphoma is widespread, it can cause fevers, weight loss, and generalized symptoms of illness.

How we care for large cell lymphoma

Children with large cell lymphoma are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's through the Lymphoma Program in our Hematologic Malignancy Center. One of the top pediatric cancer centers worldwide, Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s combines the expertise of a premier cancer center — Dana-Farber Cancer Institute — and a world-class children’s hospital — Boston Children’s Hospital — to provide internationally-renowned care for children with cancer.

Find in-depth information on the Dana-Farber website:

CAR T-cell therapy (KYMRIAH™) for large B-cell lymphoma

Boston Children’s is now offering CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy for eligible patients aged 18 and older with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), high grade B-cell lymphoma, and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma.

CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy, approved by the FDA in 2017, alters the immune system’s T cells so they can better detect and destroy infected ‭or cancerous cells.

To genetically engineer these cells to fight cancer, T cells collected from the patient’s blood are modified in the lab to produce special structures called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. Once these “supercharged” T cells are reinfused into the patient, the new receptors enable the T cells to latch onto a specific antigen on the patient's tumor cells and destroy them.

Learn how CAR T-cell therapy works.

Large Cell Lymphoma | Programs & Services