B-cell lymphomas make up most of the non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) in the United States. These are types of lymphoma that affect B lymphocytes.

The most common types of B-cell lymphomas are:

  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) This is the most common type of NHL in the United States, accounting for about 1 out of every 3 lymphomas. The lymphoma cells look fairly large when seen with a microscope.
  • Follicular lymphoma About 1 out of 5 lymphomas in the United States is a follicular lymphoma. This is usually a slow-growing (indolent) lymphoma, although some follicular lymphomas can grow quickly.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) CLL and SLL are closely related diseases. In fact, many doctors consider them different versions of the same disease. The same type of cancer cell (known as a small lymphocyte) is seen in both CLL and SLL. The only difference is where the cancer cells are found. In CLL, most of the cancer cells are in the blood and bone marrow. In SLL, the cancer cells are mainly in the lymph nodes and spleen.
  • Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) About 5% of lymphomas are mantle cell lymphomas. MCL is much more common in men than in women, and it most often appears in people older than 60. When MCL is diagnosed, it is usually widespread in the lymph nodes, bone marrow, and often the spleen.
  • Marginal zone lymphomas Marginal zone lymphomas account for about 5% to 10% of lymphomas. They tend to be slow-growing (indolent). The cells in these lymphomas look small under the microscope.
  • Burkitt lymphoma This fast-growing lymphoma is named after the doctor who first described this disease. It makes up about 1% to 2% of all adult lymphomas. It is rare in adults, but is more common in children.
  • Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia) This slow-growing lymphoma is not common, accounting for only 1% to 2% of lymphomas. The lymphoma cells are small and found mainly in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and spleen.
  • Hairy cell leukemia Despite the name, hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is sometimes considered to be a type of lymphoma. It is rare. Men are much more likely to get HCL than women, and the average age at diagnosis is around 50.
  • Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma This lymphoma involves the brain or spinal cord (the central nervous system, or CNS). The lymphoma is also sometimes found in tissues around the spinal cord. Over time, it tends to become widespread in the central nervous system.

See non-Hodgkin Lymphoma for signs, symptoms and treatments.