Lymphoma Treatments

“Patients at City of Hope have the advantage of early access to the new agents that will one day become standard of care.”
Larry Kwak, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center and Dr. Michael Friedman Professor in Translational Medicine

How Is Lymphoma Treated? 

At City of Hope, we tailor your lymphoma treatment based on the type of disease you have. Our care team has access to the newest therapies and can recommend the right combination of treatment options for you.

The City of Hope Difference 

Diagnosis, treatment and cure rates for lymphoma are improving every year, and research at City of Hope has helped fuel those trends and improve outcomes among our patients.

Leading-edge clinical trials, collaborations with a large network of institutions and our designation as a lymphoma Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) provide our patients with exciting new treatment options.

Additionally, City of Hope’s unique ability to produce and manufacture the agents being developed by our investigators means treatments reach our patients faster.

What Lymphoma Doctors Will I See at My Appointment?

When you come to City of Hope for lymphoma treatment, your cancer care team works together to find the best course of care for managing your disease. Their goal is to improve quality of life and help you control the progress of lymphoma. This multidisciplinary team may include oncologists, radiologists, researchers, nurses and a wide range of support staff.

What Are Combination Therapies for Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?

The most common treatment for both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma is combination chemotherapy. Newer treatments such as radiation, targeted therapy and immunotherapy are often combined with chemotherapy to increase the chances treatment will be effective. Factors that determine your treatment course include:

  • Type of lymphoma
  • Stage and category of the disease
  • Response to prior treatment
  • Whether the disease has come back after treatment
  • Whether other medical problems such as heart or kidney disease are involved

Our goal for your treatment is to improve the chances of curing lymphoma while ensuring that your therapy is of the lowest toxicity, so that you can maintain your quality of life.

What Are Therapies for Cutaneous Lymphoma?

Cutaneous lymphomas are some of the most difficult lymphomas to diagnose since they resemble other common skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and ringworm. Our team includes hematopathologists, who can differentiate between skin lymphoma subtypes and who have helped develop groundbreaking skin-directed and light therapies that can treat these types of lymphoma.

Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation

For patients with recurrent or particularly aggressive disease, transplantation may be a treatment option. City of Hope is a world leader in setting standards for stem cell transplantation and improving long-term outcomes for both children and adults. Our Hematologic Malignancies Research Institute is considered an industry leader, with unparalleled survival rates, thanks to our innovative approaches to blood and bone marrow transplantation for lymphoma.

Treatment for HIV- and AIDS-related Lymphoma

City of Hope scientists pioneered the use of blood stem cell transplants to treat patients with HIV-and AIDS-related lymphoma, changing the standard of care. They used a new form of gene therapy to achieve the first long-term persistence of anti-HIV genes in patients with AIDS-related lymphoma. This treatment ultimately may cure not only lymphoma, but also HIV/AIDS.

Learn about our stem cell transplantation program

Chemotherapy for Lymphoma

Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for lymphoma and uses drugs to either kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. This approach is usually necessary to kill cancer cells circulating throughout the lymphatic system.

Exciting advances in chemotherapy at City of Hope have allowed patients with advanced lymphoma to receive combination drug treatments that can slow down disease progression and improve quality of life. These combinations often include targeted therapies, radiotherapies and immunotherapies alongside chemotherapy.

Immunotherapy for Lymphoma 

Immunotherapy is a way of awakening the immune system to take action against cancer cells. Immune cells patrol the body in search of disease, but cancer cells often devise ways to get around or suppress them. City of Hope is developing and testing drugs that can unleash dramatic and specific immune responses to cancer cells — or make them visible to the immune system.

Many of the clinical trials at City of Hope are exploring immunotherapy to treat lymphoma, including exciting advances in CAR T cell therapy that have resulted in both partial and complete remissions.

Lymphoma Drug Therapy

City of Hope utilizes the latest technology to spot genetic vulnerabilities in cancer cells and use medications to stop them from growing. By learning how a tumor behaves and how it might respond to different therapies, we can create targeted therapies: drugs or drug combinations that would work best to treat specific cancers.

Monoclonal Antibodies

In a recent trial led by City of Hope involving the targeted therapy brentuximab vedotin, several patients who failed multiple therapies were either cured or their lives were extended. Brentuximab vedotin is part of an exciting new class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies, which target specific molecules on the surface of cancer cells to stimulate a response. These drugs are a normal part of therapy for many of our patients.

Small Molecules

We are investigating small molecules that interfere with the defective signaling inside cancer cells that help them to grow and divide uncontrollably. These drugs are often given in pill form and have significantly fewer side effects than chemotherapy.


Radiation Therapy for Lymphoma 

One of the most effective treatments for lymphoma, radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. City of Hope offers advanced radiation treatments that target cancer cells while protecting the surrounding normal tissue.

One technique, TomoTherapy, delivers focused radiation to the entire bone marrow compartment. City of Hope is investigating a leading-edge radioimmunotherapy, which kills cancer cells by directing radioactive particles toward them. 

Our approach to radiation for patients with chronic types of lymphoma is to monitor and sometimes limit the number of scans each patient undergoes in an effort to reduce radiation exposure. Additionally, our radiologists adhere to protocols designed to limit the radiation delivered with each scan.