Laura Melancon started as a patient here at the age of 23. Now, years later, Laura has come back to the Cancer Center to work as a Bone Marrow Transplant Coordinator.
Jon and JoAnn Hagler
Center for Lymphoma
Mass General Cancer Center
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
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Explore the Lymphoma Treatment Program
Because we are consulted on such a large number of lymphomas, our experts are highly skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of these cancers, which can lead to better outcomes for patients. With this degree of sub-specialization, there is a great likelihood that every lymphoma type, even the most rare, has been evaluated and treated by someone in our center. Among our program’s most distinguishing features are:
- Access to both standard therapies and new treatments through cutting edge clinical trials
- Hematopathology consultations from leading experts in the field, including the latest diagnostic tests, chromosome studies, molecular testing, and flow cytometry
- Access to the Mass General Bone Marrow Transplant Program and to innovative and novel therapies such as umbilical cord blood transplantation and mismatched family member transplants
- Access to the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center, which provides proton beam radiation therapy for research and treatment for cancers where this form of therapy is indicated
The Center for Lymphoma provides comprehensive care for Hodgkin lymphoma (previously called Hodgkin's disease) and the more than 60 types—from the most common to the very rare--of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), including:
- Cutaneous lymphomas in our Comprehensive Cutaneous Lymphoma Program
- Systemic Lymphomas
- B-cell lymphomas
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphomas
- Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma
- Follicular lymphoma
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL)
- Mantle cell lymphoma
- Marginal zone lymphomas
- Extranodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma
- Nodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma
- Splenic marginal zone B-cell lymphoma
- Burkitt lymphoma
- Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma
- Hairy cell leukemia
- HIV/AIDS associated lymphomas
- Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD)
- Cutaneous B-cell lymphomas
- T-cell lymphomas
- Peripheral T-cell lymphomas
- Peripheral T-cell lymphoma, unspecified
- Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma
- Enteropathy-associated type T-cell lymphoma
- Subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma
- Anaplastic large cell lymphoma
- Extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type
- Acute T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (HTLV-associated)
- Hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma
- Large granular lymphocyte leukemia
- T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia
- Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas
In many cases, patients can be seen within 24 hours of contacting the program. Each patient receives a complete evaluation, prompt diagnosis from expert sub-specialists and a multidisciplinary care team that coordinates every aspect of care.
Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Lymphomas
A correct diagnosis is key to planning the proper course of treatment. The diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma may be complicated as it can appear similar to certain non-Hodgkin lymphomas as well as reactive or inflammatory conditions. The more than 60 sub-types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma also present a challenge for many pathology departments without lymphoma expertise. Our pathologists are world-renowned for their expertise in diagnosing lymphoid diseases. They have been among the leaders in designing the classification system of lymphomas for the World Health Organization, which is used world-wide.
All biopsies are evaluated by our Hematopathology group of international leaders in the field who specialize in the pathologic diagnosis of blood cancers. Our hematopathologists provides diagnostic services for patients at MGH as well as consultation services for US and international pathologists. The group has focused on the careful morphologic, immunophenotypic, and genetic characterization of lymphoid and myeloid neoplasms, in order to develop criteria for diagnosis and to better define clinically relevant hematologic diseases. The group works closely with Cancer Center oncologists and hematologists to provide optimal patient care.
Advanced Medical Oncology
Chemotherapy is the primary therapy for most patients with both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
We offer standard treatments for this lymphoma with well-established high rates of cure. Some patients may also be treated with radiation therapy in certain circumstances, as well as cutting edge clinical trials with the goals of increasing cure rates and decreasing side effects from therapy.
Each cancer is distinct, and our program has subspecialists with expertise in treating all types of lymphoma, from the most common to the very rare. Our medical oncologists will help you understand the complexity of lymphoma and select the optimal treatment program for you and your lymphoma subtype. Clinical trials adding new therapies targeted at your lymphoma subtype may be available. Therapies may include:
- Immunotherapy, in which man-made antibodies act as targeted therapies against non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells are included standard in the treatment of most non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
- Stem cell transplant may be an option for some patients, through our stem cell transplantation program.
Multidisciplinary Patient Care
Every patient in the Jon and JoAnn Hagler Center for Lymphoma has a multidisciplinary care team of specialists who coordinate and oversee his or her care. In addition, each team includes nurses who specialize in the treatment of lymphoma, as well as social workers, nutritionists and other professionals.
Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas are treated almost exclusively with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as immunotherapy. Surgery is rarely used in the treatment for these cancers once the diagnosis is made by biopsy. Some patients may require stem cell transplantation, which would be managed by the Mass General Bone Marrow Transplant Program.
A patient's care team typically includes:
- Pathologists who evaluate all tumor samples to provide precise diagnostic information
- Medical oncologists who will coordinate and manage chemotherapy as well as medications to ease the side-effects of these treatments
- Radiation oncologists offer innovative radiation therapy techniques
- Specialized oncology nurses and nurse practitioners bring special expertise in cancer care
- Oncology psychiatrists, social workers, and chaplains provide psychosocial support for patients and families
- Nutritionists help with dietary issues to enhance your health and well-being during treatment
- Palliative care providers work with your team to address pain and quality-of-life concerns
Pioneering Radiation Therapies
External beam, or conformal, radiation therapy is included in the care for certain patients with Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Our program offers state-of-the-art radiation therapy in concert with skilled experts in radiation oncology. Some patients may be candidates for proton beam radiation therapy, a technique for targeting radiation to the cancer and minimizing toxicity to surrounding tissues. Our program is on the leading-edge of determining the effectiveness of this precisely targeted form of radiation for the treatment of lymphoma.
Comprehensive Cutaneous Lymphoma Program
Diagnosis and care of lymphomas occurring primarily in the skin requires multidisciplinary care from a team of lymphoma specialists from medical oncology, dermatology, and radiation oncology. Our team works with patients to insure accurate diagnosis and to select treatment that is most appropriate for each patient's unique cutaneous lymphoma. We also provide access to novel therapies in cutaneous lymphoma through clinical trials.
Developing Better Therapies through Research
The Jon and JoAnn Hagler Center for Lymphoma is a world-class treatment and research center for the care of lymphoid cancers. We are leading studies on improving therapies through clinical trials, identifying novel targets for therapy in preclinical models, and are pioneering the use of proton beam radiation therapy for lymphoma. We are also leading valuable research to reduce the short and long-term side effects of therapy, including heart disease and second malignancies. Our goal is to develop better therapies for lymphoma that improve our patients’ outcomes and their lives.
The Center for Lymphoma is committed to developing and testing novel therapies that are targeted directly to a patient’s lymphoma. Given the many different subtypes of non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphoma, we offer a large selection of clinical trials evaluating new treatments, or improving on standard treatments, with the goal of enhancing cure rates and minimizing chemotherapy toxicity across lymphoma subtypes. Clinical trials may be available as initial therapy or as therapies for relapsed disease. Your physician will discuss all available options as part of your treatment planning.
Meet the Team
Meet our multidisciplinary team of lymphoma specialists.
- Director, Jon and JoAnn Hagler Center for Lymphoma
- Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Patient Education & Resources
A checklist of items to bring with you for your first visit and helpful information.
We offer a wide range of integrative therapies, workshops and support groups.
Immunotherapy: CAR T-cell Therapy for Lymphoma
The Mass General Cancer is an authorized treatment center for two FDA approved CAR T-cell therapies for adult patients with lymphoma, Yescarta and Kymriah.