Treatment of T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2004 Aug;5(4):289-303. doi: 10.1007/s11864-004-0020-8.


T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) represents approximately 10% to 15% of all lymphomas in Western countries. Patients with T-cell NHL are often treated similarly to patients with intermediate grade B-cell NHL, although many reports have demonstrated lower overall survival rates in patients with T-cell NHL compared to patients with B-cell NHL. Updated classifications have recognized specific clinical and pathologic T-cell entities, such as peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise characterized, angioimmunoblastic lymphoma, systemic anaplastic T-cell lymphoma, adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma, subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma, hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, extranodal natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma nasal type, and enteropathy-type intestinal T-cell lymphoma. Furthermore, these distinct T-cell NHL subtypes often warrant individualized diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, such as the associated cytophagic histiocytic panniculitis and hemophagocytic syndrome with subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma, the chromosomal translocation t(2;5), leading to the nucleophosmin anaplastic lymphoma kinase fusion protein, viral pathogenesis of Epstein-Barr virus, human T-cell lymphotropic virus type-1 associated with extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma nasal type and adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma, respectively, and the role of radiation therapy in extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma nasal type. Other active therapeutic agents in T-cell NHL include purine and pyrimidine antimetabolite agents (eg, nucleoside analogues and gemcitabine, respectively), denileukin diftitox, and antinucleoside or retinoic acid with interferon-alpha combination treatment. The exact role of transplantation in patients with T-cell NHL is unknown, but several case series have documented the feasibility of autologous and allogeneic transplant with reported long-term survival rates similar to transplanted B-cell NHL. Identification of relevant proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes involved in the pathogenesis of T-cell NHL, such as the nucleophosmin anaplastic lymphoma kinase fusion protein, p53 and retinoblastoma gene, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, histone deacetylation inhibitors, and infectious etiologies (eg, Epstein-Barr virus and Helicobacter pylori), in addition to their interplay with the various regulatory pathways of cell-cycle progression and apoptosis, represent potential candidates for molecular-based therapy. Prospective multi-institution clinical trials are critically important to determine the most effective treatment regimens that will continue to improve cure rates in these aggressive, yet treatable and often curable, diseases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / mortality
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / therapy
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / mortality
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / therapy*
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome