World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

B symptoms

Article Id: WHEBN0003204365
Reproduction Date:

Title: B symptoms  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Hodgkin's lymphoma, Paraneoplastic syndromes, Cancer staging, Lymphoma, Constitutional symptoms
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

B symptoms

B symptoms refer to systemic symptoms of fever, night sweats, and weight loss which can be associated with both Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The presence or absence of B symptoms has prognostic significance and is reflected in the staging of these lymphomas.


  • Description and nomenclature 1
  • Prognostic importance 2
    • Relative importance of specific B symptoms 2.1
  • "B symptoms" in other diseases 3
  • References 4

Description and nomenclature

B symptoms are so called because Ann Arbor staging of lymphomas includes both a number (I-IV) and a letter (A or B);.[1] "A" indicates the absence of systemic symptoms, while "B" indicates their presence.

B symptoms include:

  • Fever greater than 38 °C. Pel-Ebstein fever, the classic intermittent fever associated with Hodgkin disease, occurs at variable intervals of days to weeks and lasts for 1–2 weeks before resolving. However, fever associated with lymphoma can follow virtually any pattern.
  • Drenching sweats, especially at night.
  • Unintentional weight loss of >10% of normal body weight over a period of 6 months or less.

Prognostic importance

The presence of B symptoms is a marker for more advanced disease with systemic, rather than merely local, involvement. B symptoms are a clear negative prognostic factor in Hodgkin lymphoma.[2] The relevance of B symptoms in non-Hodgkin lymphoma is less clear, although here also B symptoms tend to correlate with disease that is either more widespread or of a higher histologic grade.[3]

Relative importance of specific B symptoms

It has been suggested that, in Hodgkin lymphoma, fever and weight loss are much more prognostically significant than night sweats. In one series of patients with early-stage Hodgkin disease, the presence or absence of night sweats had no impact on cure rates and outcome. However, fever and weight loss had a pronounced negative impact on cure and survival rates, regardless of treatment modality.[4]

"B symptoms" in other diseases

Similar systemic symptoms can be found in non-cancerous states such as tuberculosis and various inflammatory or rheumatologic conditions. In these settings, the term "B symptoms" is sometimes colloquially applied to refer to such systemic or constitutional symptoms. However, in a pure sense, the term "B symptoms" is restricted to lymphoma staging.


  1. ^ Carbone PP, Kaplan HS, Musshoff K, Smithers DW, Tubiana M (November 1971). "Report of the Committee on Hodgkin's Disease Staging Classification". Cancer Res. 31 (11): 1860–1.  
  2. ^ Reevaluation of prognostic significance of symptoms in Hodgkin's disease. Gobbi PG; Cavalli C; Gendarini A; Crema A; Ricevuti G; Federico M; Di Prisco U; Ascari E. Cancer 1985 Dec 15;56(12):2874-80.
  3. ^ Malignant lymphoma: the histology and staging of 473 patients at the National Cancer Institute. Anderson T; Chabner BA; Young RC; Berard CW; Garvin AJ; Simon RM; DeVita VT Jr. Cancer 1982 Dec 15;50(12):2699-707.
  4. ^ Stage I to IIB Hodgkin's disease: the combined experience at Stanford University and the Joint Center for Radiation Therapy. Crnkovich MJ; Leopold K; Hoppe RT; Mauch PM. J Clin Oncol 1987 Jul;5(7):1041-9.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.