The immune microenvironment in Hodgkin lymphoma: T cells, B cells, and immune checkpoints

Vardhana S, Younes A

Haematologica. 2016 Jul;101(7):794-802. PMID: 27365459


Classical Hodgkin lymphoma is curable in the majority of cases with chemotherapy and/or radiation. However, 15-20% of patients ultimately relapse and succumb to their disease. Pathologically, classical Hodgkin lymphoma is characterized by rare tumor-initiating Reed-Sternberg cells surrounded by a dense immune microenvironment. However, the role of the immune microenvironment, particularly T and B cells, in either promoting or restricting Classical Hodgkin lymphoma growth remains undefined. Recent dramatic clinical responses seen using monoclonal antibodies against PD-1, a cell surface receptor whose primary function is to restrict T cell activation, have reignited questions regarding the function of the adaptive immune system in classical Hodgkin lymphoma. This review summarizes what is known regarding T cells, B cells, and immune checkpoints in classical Hodgkin lymphoma.