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Prognostic Factors for High Grade (Aggressive) Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma


Updated May 15, 2014

Factors that determine treatment outcome:

High Grade (Aggressive) Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is a fast growing disease. Yet it responds well to treatment and many patients can be cured. The outcome depends on five well established prognostic factors that make up the International Prognostic Index (IPI). Here is a description of these prognostic factors and how they affect outcomes.


Age is an important prognostic factor in high-grade NHL. Those individuals who develop NHL below 60 years of age do better than older individuals.

Blood test results:

The serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is an indicator of how much disease there is in the body. The more the disease, the more the value of LDH. Individuals with high levels of LDH in their blood do worse than those with normal levels.

Performance status:

The performance status is an indicator that measures the fitness of an individual with cancer. It measures whether a person is symptomatic and how far the person is self-sufficient in his or her day-to-day activities.

In NHL, like in many other cancers, those with better performance scores do better after treatment than those who are more sick or dependant for daily activities.


The stage of Lymphoma is a very important factor. Read more about staging in Understanding Lymphoma Stages. Early stage disease - Stages I and II has a better outcome than advanced stage disease - stages III and IV.

Involvement of organs outside the lymph system:

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system. Read more about the lymph system organs in Understanding the Lymph System. If the lymphoma affects organs outside the lymph system, like the liver, spine or brain, treatment results are generally inferior.

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