Objective: Several reports have noted an increased incidence of malignant lymphoma in patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS). Each case series has consisted of a limited number of patients with malignant non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (MNHL). In this report, we describe the disease characteristics, the clinical course, and the evolution in 33 patients followed up in 9 European medical centers.
Methods: The pool of MNHL patients from participating centers in a European Concerted Action on SS were analyzed. We report on the disease characteristics, its evolution, prognosis, current treatment practices, and survival.
Results: The MNHLs in this study were primarily situated in the marginal zone (48.5%), with the manifestations mostly extranodal (78.8%) and most often identified in the salivary glands (54.6%). Lymphadenopathy (65.6%), skin vasculitis (33.3%), peripheral nerve involvement (24.2%), low-grade fever (25.0%), anemia (48.1%), and lymphopenia (78.6%) were observed significantly more frequently than in the general SS population. Patients with high-to-intermediate grade lymphoma had significantly worse survival (P = 0.041). The presence of B symptoms (fever, night sweats, and weight loss) and a large tumor diameter (>7 cm) were additional independent risk factors for death.
Conclusion: The novel observations of this study were those related to the type of MNHL, the survival prognosis, and the very high frequency of skin vasculitis, peripheral nerve involvement, anemia, and lymphopenia. Some of the previously reported results on extranodal manifestations were confirmed.