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Disease Profile

Hodgkin lymphoma

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset






Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Hodgkin disease; Hodgkin's lymphoma; Lymphoma, Hodgkin's


Rare Cancers


The following summary is from Orphanet, a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.

Orpha Number: 98293

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a heterogeneous group of malignant lymphoid neoplasms of Bcell origin characterized histologically by the presence of Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells in the vast majority of cases.

HL is an uncommon cancer with an incidence of about 1/40,000 in North America and Europe. There are about 8500 new cases reported in the U.S. each year.

Clinical description
HL is comprised of 2 major forms: classical Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL; see this term), seen in 95% of all HL cases, and nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL; see this term), seen in only 5% of all HL cases. Disease onset occurs most frequently in young adults (age 15-35) followed by older adults (over the age of 55) and usually begins with the painless swelling of a lymph node in the upper body. Disease can spread to multiple lymph node regions or lymphoid structures and associated systemic symptoms (weight loss > 10% of baseline, fevers, night sweats) are observed in about 20% of patients.

The exact cause is unknown but immunological, genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved.

Management and treatment
Treatment with radiotherapy and systemic chemotherapy leads to a very good prognosis. Follow-up physical exams, blood tests and x-rays are needed to check for recurrence and check for any long-term side effects of the toxic treatments. Possible long-term side effects include secondary cancers, infertility, reduced immunity, thyroid problems, heart disease and stroke.

The international prognostic score (IPS) is a score given based on the presence of 7 risk factors (male sex, >45 years of age, stage 4 disease, serum albumin <4g/dl, hemoglobin <10.5 g/l, lymphocytopenia and WBC count >15,000/mm3) at the time of diagnosis. The more factors present, the less favorable the prognosis. The cure rates are 90% for early-stage HL and 70% for advance stage HL.

Visit the Orphanet disease page for more resources.


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms

[ more ]

Decreased immune function
Swollen lymph nodes
Cancer of lymphatic system
30%-79% of people have these symptoms
Chest pain
Excessive sweating
Increased sweating
Profuse sweating
Sweating profusely
Sweating, increased

[ more ]

Itchy skin
Skin itching

[ more ]

Weight loss
5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Bone pain
Trouble breathing
Coughing up blood
Enlarged liver
Peripheral neuropathy
Increased spleen size
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Autosomal recessive inheritance
Hodgkin lymphoma
Impaired lymphocyte transformation with phytohemagglutinin
Polyclonal elevation of IgM


Making a diagnosis for a genetic or rare disease can often be challenging. Healthcare professionals typically look at a person’s medical history, symptoms, physical exam, and laboratory test results in order to make a diagnosis. The following resources provide information relating to diagnosis and testing for this condition. If you have questions about getting a diagnosis, you should contact a healthcare professional.

Testing Resources

  • The Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) provides information about the genetic tests for this condition. The intended audience for the GTR is health care providers and researchers. Patients and consumers with specific questions about a genetic test should contact a health care provider or a genetics professional.


    FDA-Approved Treatments

    The medication(s) listed below have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as orphan products for treatment of this condition. Learn more orphan products.

    • Brentuximab vedotin(Brand name: Adcetris) Manufactured by Seattle Genetics, Inc
      FDA-approved indication: March 2018, brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) was approved for the treatment of adult patients with previously untreated Stage III or IV classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), in combination with chemotherapy. In August 2015, it was approved for treatment of patients with classical Hodgkin lymphoma at high risk of relapse or progression as post-autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (auto-HSCT). In August 2011, it was approved for the treatment of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma after failure of autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) or after failure of at least two prior multi-agent chemotherapy regimens in patients who are not ASCT candidates.
      National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal
      Medline Plus Health Information
    • Pembrolizumab(Brand name: Keytruda) Manufactured by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp
      FDA-approved indication: Treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), or those who have relapsed after three or more prior lines of therapy.
      National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal
      Medline Plus Health Information
    • Nivolumab(Brand name: Opdivo) Manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co
      FDA-approved indication: Treatment of adult patients with Classical Hodgkin lymphoma that has relapsed or progressed after 3 or more lines of systemic therapy that includes autologous HSCT.
      National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal
      Medline Plus Health Information


    Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

    Organizations Supporting this Disease

      Learn more

      These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

      Where to Start

      • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
      • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers.
      • The National Cancer Institute provides the most current information on cancer for patients, health professionals, and the general public.
      • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

        In-Depth Information

        • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
        • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
        • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
        • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Hodgkin lymphoma. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.