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What is DLBCL?

DLBCL stands for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. 

  • Diffuse means the cells are presented in a diffuse pattern (evenly spread out)
  • Large B-cell means the cancerous B-cells are larger than normal B-cells
  • Lymphoma means the cancerous B-cells are mainly present in the lymphatic system (lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, thymus, spleen, liver, and bone marrow) 

Part of the cell's instructions found in the B-cell's chromosomes are changed with variations like deletions, gene mutations, or chromosome rearrangements which causes the cell to be unable to work well and allows it to avoid cell death. This allows the ineffective cell to keep multiplying. The replication of the DLBCL cells may happen quickly and treatment is usually needed at the time of diagnosis.  

How Did my B-cell become Cancerous? 

Reasons the B-cell's chromosome instructions may become damaged to turn into DLBCL are believed to be from either a virus (and the body's immune system was too weak to destroy the virus-infected B-cell allowing it to multiply), from high and chronic amounts of oxidative stress, or the patient may have inherited high-risk DNA and the cancer developed later in life. To see current treatment options that help reduce and limit the progression of DLBCL cells see here.

Differences among Patients 

Each DLBCL case varies from person to person. Differences among patients can include:

  • The location of cancer cells 
    • Some patients may have more cancer cells in the lymph nodes, others may have more in the bone marrow, and some may have more in the lymph system organs like the spleen and liver 
  • Stage of the disease
    • Some patients may have cancer cells in only a few lymph nodes and others may have cancer cells in many different parts of the body. The stage of the disease will determine the treatment path for the patient. See here for more about the staging process of DLBCL. 
  • Chromosome mutation variations
    • DLBCL patients may have gene mutations that predict high-risk or lower-risk disease. For more information about these gene mutations, see here.

Have a DLBCL Specialist on your Team 

To ensure patients are getting the best treatment for their individual situations, they should create a care plan with a DLBCL specialist. Need help finding a specialist? Check out HealthTree’s DLBCL Specialist Directory

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