B symptoms

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 11 Dec 2019

The B symptoms (a.k.a. inflammatory symptoms) are a triad of systemic symptoms associated with more advanced disease and a poorer outcome in lymphoma 1,2:

B symptoms are a poor prognostic factor in lymphoma (both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas). For this reason, if there are B symptoms, then the tumor is upstaged under the Lugano classification system. The presence of B symptoms correlates well with an elevated level of inflammatory cytokines in body fluids 1.

History and etymology

In the Rye staging system for Hodgkin disease, agreed in 1966, each stage was subclassified as A or B, according to the absence (A) or presence (B) of symptoms. In the Rye system the B symptoms were fever, night sweats and pruritus. In the Ann Arbor staging system introduced in 1971, which updated and superseded the Rye system, pruritus was dropped as a B symptom and replaced with weight loss 3,4.

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