Mixed cellularity Hodgkin’s lymphoma (MCHL) is a subtype of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer originating in the lymphatic system.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma includes the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, an atypical cell that does not occur in other forms of lymphoma. Doctors further subdivide it into subtypes, including MCHL.

In MCHL, the affected lymph nodes contain a mixture of atypical cancer cells and various other cell types, hence “mixed cellularity.” This subtype is one of the more common, affecting 20 to 25% of people with classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

This article examines MCHL, including its causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

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MCHL is a subtype of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Doctors divide this cancer of the lymphatic system into subtypes depending on the appearance of the cells under the microscope and other factors.

MCHL is more common in specific individuals, including:

In MCHL, an affected lymph node biopsy shows Reed-Sternberg cells, large atypical B lymphocytes with multiple nuclei, and various other cell types, including lymphocytes, eosinophils, neutrophils, and plasma cells. This mixed cellularity indicates an immune response to the cancer cells.

What is classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

Classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma (CHL) is one of the main subtypes of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The other is nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In developed countries, CHL accounts for more than 9 in 10 cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Doctors further subdivide CHL into four subtypes:

Learn more about Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Symptoms of MCHL may include:

In MCHL, “B symptoms” are common. This set of symptoms includes:

These symptoms may indicate the severity of the disease and can affect an individual’s outlook.

Individuals need to consult a doctor if they notice swollen lymph nodes that do not resolve on their own or any other symptoms of MCHL.

These symptoms do not necessarily indicate anything concerning, but a doctor should evaluate them to determine the cause. Early evaluation and diagnosis are crucial for effective treatment.

The exact cause of MCHL and other forms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma remains unknown. However, health experts believe it may result from genetic mutations in B lymphocytes affecting their behavior and communication. Additionally, environmental factors, such as viral infections that include HIV and EBV, may play a role.

Generally, diagnosing MCHL involves:

This process helps doctors rule out other conditions and may suggest someone has MCHL. However, they can only make a definitive diagnosis by taking a tissue sample from an affected lymph node with an excisional biopsy.

A laboratory then uses immunophenotyping, which is a test to identify specific cells according to their surface markers, to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for MCHL depends on how far the disease has spread and the person’s overall health. The main goal is to completely cure the lymphoma while managing any possible current or future side effects.

A treatment plan typically involves chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of both. Even though many people have an effective first treatment, about 1 in 10 do not respond well, while up to 3 in 10 might see their lymphoma return. For these cases, the usual approach involves high dose chemotherapy and then autologous stem cell transplant, which is a procedure to replace damaged stem cells.

There are no proven strategies to prevent MCHL due to its unclear causes. However, maintaining a healthy immune system may improve overall health and reduce the risk.

The outlook for MCHL varies depending on the stage at diagnosis and how the person responds to treatment. However, it is generally positive.

Furthermore, advances in treatment have significantly improved the outlook for many individuals with CHL of all types.

Individuals with an MCHL diagnosis have several avenues for support to help them process their diagnosis and begin treatment. The Lymphoma Research Foundation and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provide counseling, support groups, and resources.

Joining a support group connects individuals with people living similar experiences. These groups offer a sense of community and belonging, where members can share their stories, offer practical advice, and provide emotional support to one another.

Incorporating support mechanisms into treatment plans can enhance the overall well-being of individuals with MCHL.

Mixed cellularity Hodgkin’s lymphoma (MCHL) is a subtype of classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Doctors recognize it by identifying atypical Reed-Sternberg cells and other immune system cells in affected lymph nodes.

Despite its serious nature, the outlook for MCHL is generally favorable with appropriate treatment.

Early detection, effective treatment, and supportive care are essential to managing this condition.