Treatments for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

If your child has non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), the healthcare team will create a treatment plan based on your child’s health, specific information about the cancer and the best treatment options available. When deciding which treatments to offer for childhood NHL, the healthcare team will consider:

  • the type of NHL
  • the stage of the cancer
  • the location and size of the tumour
  • your child’s age
  • your child’s overall health

When planning treatment for children with Burkitt lymphoma or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the healthcare team will also consider the risk group. For some types of childhood NHL, the risk group is part of the staging for childhood NHL.

Children with childhood NHL often have complications that need to be treated right away. Children who have blocked airways or organs may need corticosteroid treatment before they start chemotherapy. Once children with NHL start treatment, they often develop tumour lysis syndrome, which must be treated immediately. Doctors try to prevent side effects of rapid tumour lysis by giving extra fluids and medicines to help keep the kidneys safe from the buildup of uric acid.

The following is general information about treatments offered for childhood NHL.

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Treating Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Children. 2017.
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Lymphoma - Non-Hodgkin - Childhood. 2017.
  • Cancer.net. Lymphoma-non-Hodgkin-childhood. Alexandria, VA.: American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO); 2012: http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/31270/view-all.
  • Gross TG & Perkins SL . Malignant non-Hodgkin lymphomas in children. Pizzo, P. A. & Poplack, D. G. (Eds.). Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011: 23:pp. 663-682.
  • Johnston JM. Pediatric Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment and Management. 2018.
  • National Cancer Institute. Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®) Patient Version. 2018.
  • National Cancer Institute. Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®) Health Professional Version. 2018.
  • Truong TH, Weitzman, S, Arceci RJ . Non-Hodgkin lymphoma of childhood. Wiernik PH, Goldman JM, Dutcher JP & Kyle RA (eds.). Neoplastic Diseases of the Blood. 5th ed. Springer; 2013: 48: pp. 1049-1072.
  • Woods D, McDonald, L . Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Baggott C, Fochtman D, Foley GV & Patterson Kelly, K (eds.). Nursing Care of Children and Adolescents with Cancer. 4rd ed. APHON; 2011: 29: pp. 1023-1037.

Treatments for childhood Burkitt lymphoma

Treatments for childhood Burkitt lymphoma are based on stage. The most common treatment used is chemotherapy. Learn about treatment options.

Treatments for childhood lymphoblastic lymphoma

Treatments for childhood lymphoblastic lymphoma are based on stage. The most common treatment used is chemotherapy. Learn about treatment options.

Treatments for childhood diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Treatments for childhood diffuse large B-cell lymphoma are based on stage. The most common treatment used is chemotherapy. Learn about treatment options.

Treatments for childhood anaplastic large cell lymphoma

Treatments for childhood anaplastic large cell lymphoma are based on stage. The most common treatment used is chemotherapy. Learn about treatment options.

Treatments for childhood primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma

Treatments for primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma are based on stage. The most common treatment used is chemotherapy. Learn about treatment options.

Chemotherapy for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Chemotherapy is the main treatment for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Learn about chemotherapy drugs used to treat childhood NHL and the side effects.

Surgery for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Surgery is not commonly used to treat childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It may be used for certain types. Learn about surgery for childhood NHL.

Radiation therapy for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Radiation is not commonly used to treat childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Learn when and how radiation therapy is used and the side effects.

Stem cell transplant for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Learn about stem cell transplant to treat childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which may be used if the NHL doesn’t respond to treatment or recurs.

Targeted therapy for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Targeted therapy is sometimes used to treat childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Learn about targeted therapy drugs used and the side effects.

Immunotherapy for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Immunotherapy is sometimes used to treat certain types of childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma that doesn’t respond to other treatments or comes back after treatment. Immunotherapy helps to strengthen or restore the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. Immunotherapy is sometimes called biological therapy.

Follow-up after treatment for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Follow-up after childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) treatment varies. Learn about scheduled follow-up appointments and the procedures that may be done.

Late effects of treatments for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Adjusting to life after treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is different for each child. Learn how to cope with the late effects for childhood NHL.