Refractory indolent B cell non-hodgkin lymphoma

What Is Refractory Indolent B Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)?

Refractory indolent B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a type of slowly progressing and incurable cancer in which malignant B-lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) contribute to the proliferation of cancer cells. It is a rare type of NHL – approximately only 4% of NHL cases are classified as indolent (“low-grade”).

This type of cancer is considered “refractory” when it does not resolve with standard treatments. Despite its slow progression, indolent B-cell NHL is still a life-threatening condition, and finding and treating these types of cancers as early as possible can give patients the best chance of long-term remission.

Signs and Symptoms of Refractory Indolent B Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Since this type of NHL progresses slowly, the signs and symptoms may not be noticed until it has advanced. The most common symptoms include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes or lumps in the neck, underarm, groin, or abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Feeling full or bloated after eating small amounts of food
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats

Diagnosis and Treatment of Refractory Indolent B Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Diagnosis of indolent B-cell NHL typically involves blood tests, a physical exam, a bone marrow biopsy, and an imaging scan, such as a CT scan or an MRI.

Treatment of indolent B-cell NHL involves a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. Newer treatments such as targeted therapy and stem cell therapy are also emerging as potential treatments. Surgery may also be necessary if the tumor is localized. The goal of treatment is to maintain quality of life while prolonging survival.

While some patients may achieve remission with standard treatment regimens, many will progress to a point where they are considered “refractory,” meaning the cancer is not responding to further treatment. In this case, clinical trials or investigational treatments may be an option.