What Is Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Artistic depiction of the lymphatic system including lymph nodes and lymph vessels. Red illustrates the concept that particular lymph nodes may be involved, depending on the disease.

Nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of lymph cells, is a type of Hodgkin disease. It is the most common type of Hodgkin lymphoma in the developed countries, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all individuals affected by this disease.

Nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma affects mostly adolescents and young adults. It is also slightly more common in girls than boys. The name ‘nodular sclerosing’ is derived from the appearance of lymph node tissue under the microscope in this type of Hodgkin lymphoma.

The main symptoms of nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma are enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or within the chest. The diagnosis of lymphoma is made with a lymph node biopsy.

Most individuals are diagnosed in early stages and can be cured with treatment that includes chemotherapy and radiation therapy.


The names of all the lymphoma types and subtypes are confusing even to doctors who do not deal with them regularly. Hodgkin disease and Hodgkin lymphoma mean exactly the same thing, however there are many different types lymphoma, of which Hodgkin is just one. And there are several different types of Hodgkin lymphoma, too. So, here is a run-down of nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma in terms of where it fits into the bigger picture of all lymphomas:

The 2 basic categories of lymphoma are Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hodgkin lymphoma can then be further broken down into 2 groups:

  • Classic Hodgkin lymphoma—which has several subtypes
  • Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma

“Nodular lymphocyte predominant” and “nodular sclerosing” are not the same thing—they refer to two different kinds of Hodgkin lymphoma. Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma—the lymphoma currently being explained—is a subtype of Classic Hodgkin lymphoma.

Classic Hodgkin lymphoma has the following four subtypes:

  • Nodular sclerosing
  • Mixed cellularity
  • Lymphocyte-rich
  • Lymphocyte-depleted.


American Cancer Society. What is Hodgkin disease?

Agostinelli C, Pileri S. Pathobiology of Hodgkin Lymphoma. Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis. 2014;6(1):e2014040.

Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology 7th Edition. Editors: VT DeVita, S Hellman and SA Rosenberg. Published by Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2005.

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