Bystander Cells and Prognosis in Hodgkin Lymphoma

  • Daniel Molin Department of Oncology, Radiology, and Clinical Immunology, Uppsala University


Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is characterised histologically by a minority of malignant Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells surrounded by benign cells, and clinically by a relatively good prognosis. The treatment, however, leads to a risk of serious side effects. Knowledge about the biology of the disease, particularly the interaction between the HRS cells and the surrounding cells, is essential in order to improve diagnosis and treatment.

HL patients with abundant eosinophils in the tumours have a poor prognosis, therefore the eosinophil derived protein eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) was studied. Serum-ECP (S-ECP) was elevated in most HL patients. It correlated to number of tumour eosinophils, nodular sclerosis (NS) histology, and the negative prognostic factors high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and blood leukocyte count (WBC). A polymorphism in the ECP gene (434(G>C)) was identified and the 434GG genotype correlated to NS histology and high ESR.

The poor prognosis in patients with abundant eosinophils in the tumours has been proposed to depend on HRS cell stimulation by the eosinophils via a CD30 ligand (CD30L)-CD30 interaction. However, CD30L mRNA and protein were detected in mast cells and the predominant CD30L expressing cell in HL is the mast cell. Mast cells were shown to stimulate HRS cell lines via CD30L-CD30 interaction. The number of mast cells in HL tumours correlated to worse relapse-free survival, NS histology, high WBC, and low blood haemoglobin.

Survival in patients with early and intermediate stage HL, diagnosed between 1985 and 1992, was generally favourable and comparatively limited treatment was sufficient to produce acceptable results for most stages. The majority of relapses could be salvaged. Patients treated with a short course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy had an excellent outcome.

In conclusion prognosis is favourable in early and intermediate stages and there are possibilities for further improvements based on the fact that mast cells and eosinophils affect the biology and prognosis of HL.


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How to Cite
Molin D. (2009). Bystander Cells and Prognosis in Hodgkin Lymphoma. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 109(3), 179–228.
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