T-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas

Fewer than 15% of all NHL begins in T-cells. Some of the subtypes of B-cell NHL and their major characteristics include:

Precursor T-Lymphoblastic Lymphoma/Leukemia

Only about 1% of all NHL is this type of lymphoma, which can be classified as a leukemia if the majority of the abnormal cell growth is confined to the bone marrow. This form of NHL tends to strike young adults, primarily young men. These fast-growing cancerous T-cells range from small to medium in size, and remain in an immature form. Often originating in the thymus, expansion of the tumor mass within the chest can compress the airways, causing breathing problems, or obstruct the veins that return blood from the upper body to the heart, resulting in facial and arm swelling. The cure rate is high for NHL caught prior to bone marrow spread.

Peripheral T-Cell Lymphomas

These more rare forms of NHL originate in mature T-cells. The subtypes include:

  • • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (such as mycosis fungoides, Sezary syndrome): These lymphomas originate in skin, as do 5% of all lymphomas.
  • Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma: Comprising about 3% of all lymphomas, this type of lymphoma originates in lymph nodes, spleen, and/or liver. This is a fast-growing type of NHL, for which treatment can be initially helpful, although it has a tendency to recur.
  • Extranodal natural killer/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type: This NHL is more common in Asia and South America, and affects the nose and upper throat.
  • Enteropathy type T-cell lymphoma: This type of lymphoma strikes individuals with gluten sensitivity, such as celiac disease. Early institution of and strict adherence to a gluten-free diet may prevent the development of this type of NHL.
  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma: This fast-growing lymphoma strikes children and young people, although it can also occur in adults in their 50s and 60s. It tends to originate in lymph nodes, and aggressive chemotherapy can le4ad to a cure.
  • Peripheral T-cell lymphoma, Unspecified: About 50% of the T-cell lymphomas are this fast-growing variety, which spread widely. Striking primarily people in their 60s, it can result in the production of small or large cancer cells, and does not confer long-term survival.

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