Lymphoma - Non-Hodgkin: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done to learn more about NHL and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about NHL, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for you.

  • Gene profiling. Scientists are learning more about the genetics and the specific role that gene changes, called mutations, have in the development of cancer. As a result, they are better able to classify and diagnose subtypes of NHL. These gene profiling methods can help estimate the prognosis for people with certain types of lymphoma, and these tests are mostly used in lymphoma research. However, in the next few years, it is likely that treatments will be designed to target specific genetic changes.

  • Immunotherapy. There is ongoing research to change healthy (not cancerous) T cells so that they recognize and eliminate lymphoma cells, called CAR T-cell therapy. As explained in Types of Treatment, there are 2 approved CAR T-cell therapies for the treatment of DLBCL, and others are being tested in clinical trials.

  • Targeted therapies. As described in Types of Treatment, there are many targeted treatments approved to treat lymphoma. Many other targeted therapies are being studied in clinical trials. Those treatments include BCL-2 inhibitors and aurora kinase inhibitors.

  • Vaccines. Several therapeutic vaccines have been studied in clinical trials, mostly for indolent lymphoma (see Subtypes). These vaccines are not meant to prevent lymphoma but to lower the chance that a lymphoma will come back after treatment with chemotherapy or targeted therapy. So far, results from vaccine studies have not shown better results than other treatments, but research to improve vaccines is ongoing.

  • Improving chemotherapy. Different combinations of chemotherapy and different chemotherapy schedules, sometimes including antibodies or radiolabeled antibodies, are being studied in clinical trials. Researchers are evaluating many new drugs that work differently from standard chemotherapy.

  • Bone marrow transplantation/stem cell transplantation. The use of different types of bone marrow transplantation is also being tested for people with newly diagnosed disease and for those who have had a recurrence after the first treatment. Those types include including allogeneic transplants or reduced-intensity transplants, also called mini-allogeneic or nonablative transplants. For many types of lymphoma, the best way to use transplantation is still uncertain and is being studied in clinical trials. Learn more about bone marrow transplantation.

  • Palliative care/supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current NHL treatments to improve comfort and quality of life for patients.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding NHL, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, social, and financial changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.