In 1832, the first type of lymphoma was described by Thomas Hodgkin. As a newly discovered disease at the time, lymphoma had no need for sub-classifications. During the next century, however, many other (different) types of lymphoma were identified and it became apparent that discrimination was necessary. A clinical distinction was made when the disease Hodgkin initially described turned out to be much more sensitive to radiation therapy than the other types of lymphoma.
This led to the clustering of the other lymphoma as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. That separation made sense back then, but it has long since become apparent that the lymphomas that constitute the non-Hodgkin group are actually highly diverse as well, both in etiology and clinical course. Thus, the use of this anachronism in this day and age makes as much sense as saying you’re going to the zoo to look at the non-monkeys. It is now time to start using the subclassifications as full-fledged
disease entities without their vague overhead denomination. The year 2015: our beloved non-Hodgkin has peacefully passed away. The term is survived by its partner Hodgkin and its progeny, the many other lymphoma classifications. Those who outlived him will continue his memory, as equals.
Department of Hematology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.