Lymphoma is a clinical, morphological and biological group of very heterogeneous tumors of the lymphatic system. Dozens of lymphomas have been reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). The classification is based on the type of lymphoid cells (B or T) as well as on the phenotypic, molecular and cytogenetic characteristics of the tumor. About 90 % of the diagnosed lymphomas consist of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHL), the remaining part consists of Hodgkin’s lymphomas (HL).
Lymphoma, first blood cancer
Altogether, lymphoma is the sixth most common cancer worldwide based on its incidence, with almost 70,000 to 80,000 new diagnosed cases every year in Europe and the US, respectively. The incidence substantially rises at the age of 65 and has doubled since the 1970’s.
Lymphoma is also the most spread blood disease in industrial countries. The disease represents more than 3 % of the diagnosed cancer cases. The number of people suffering from lymphoma is estimated at 2 million worldwide.
Despite the progress achieved through immunotherapy (combined with chemotherapy, up to 50 to 60 % of patients can be cured), lymphoma remains a devastating disease with significant unmet medical needs. Annually, around 110,000 and 30,000 patients die because of NHL and HL, respectively (2008 data).
Lymphoma is the cancer with most clinical research being performed nowadays (source: Bionest Partners). In January 2013, 310 drug candidates were being developed for lymphoma, 26 of them in advanced development phase -phase III and pre-submission phase- (source: Bioseeker Group). Lymphoma is also one of the oncology fields where most research on personalized medicines is being developed and the search for biological, genetic and imaging biomarkers is the most active, with a need for more and more specialized scientific resources and multidisciplinary teams.