Q:

What is low grade lymphoma, and what types of treatment are used for it?

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Quick Answer

Low-grade lymphomas are lymphomas that grow slowly and remain undetectable for long periods of time, says Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Treatment involves either radiotherapy or a combination of chemotherapy and monoclonal antibodies, states Cancer Research UK.

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Full Answer

Lymphomas are cancers that affect the lymphatic system, including lymph nodes, spleen and bone marrow, explains the Mayo Clinic. Low-grade lymphomas are slow to progress and difficult to detect for as long as 10 years, after which time they become aggressive and grow quickly, reports Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Limited low-grade lymphoma, present in only a few clusters of lymph nodes, responds to radiation therapy, which keeps the cancer in remission for an extended periods or even indefinitely, according to Cancer Research UK. Advanced low-grade lymphoma requires more aggressive treatment, including rounds of chemotherapy as well as monoclonal antibody drugs.

Monoclonal antibodies are engineered to behave as natural antibodies, according to the Mayo Clinic. The antibodies help the immune system fight cancer cells, as well as deliver chemotherapy and radiotherapy to the cancer cells and prevent continuing cancer growth. Current research into therapies like stem cell and bone marrow transplants aims to lengthen periods of remission or to cure the lymphoma entirely, reports Cancer Research UK.

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