The biology of Hodgkin's lymphoma

Nat Rev Cancer. 2009 Jan;9(1):15-27. doi: 10.1038/nrc2542. Epub 2008 Dec 11.


Hodgkin's lymphoma was first described in 1832. The aetiology of this lymphoma, however, remained enigmatic for a long time. Only within the past 10 years has the B-cell nature of the pathognomonic Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells been revealed, along with several recurrent genetic lesions. The pathogenetic role for Epstein-Barr virus infection has also been substantiated. HRS cells in classical Hodgkin's lymphoma have several characteristics that are unusual for lymphoid tumour cells, and the Hodgkin's lymphoma microenvironment is dominated by an extensive mixed, potentially inflammatory cellular infiltrate. Understanding the contribution of all of these changes to the pathogenesis of this disease is essential for the development of novel therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • B-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Cell Dedifferentiation / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Viral
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Germinal Center / pathology
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / pathogenicity
  • Hodgkin Disease / etiology*
  • Hodgkin Disease / genetics
  • Hodgkin Disease / immunology
  • Hodgkin Disease / pathology
  • Hodgkin Disease / virology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology
  • Reed-Sternberg Cells / pathology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Tumor Escape
  • Viral Proteins / physiology


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Viral Proteins