Clinical and pathological features of 14 non-Hodgkin's lymphomas associated with coeliac disease

Acta Clin Belg. 2004 May-Jun;59(3):143-51. doi: 10.1179/acb.2004.021.


Background: It is well established that enteropathy associated T-cell lymphoma is associated with malabsorption which is due to gluten sensitivity (coeliac disease). Our study was performed to define the clinical features, histological subtypes, response to treatment, and outcome of the association of coeliac disease and T-cell lymphoma.

Patients and methods: A retrospective study was performed in the UCL Group of Hematology to collect data on patients with a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and coeliac disease. Fifteen cases were observed between 1985 and 1999. Case records for all but one patient were available and the pathological specimens of 14 patients were reviewed by two pathologists.

Results: Six previously diagnosed coeliac patients developed lymphoma; interval between coeliac symptoms and onset of the lymphoma ranged from 2 to 48 years (median 16 years). Five patients had coeliac disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosed concomitantly or less than 6 months before the symptoms leading to the diagnosis of lymphoma. Three patients had the diagnosis of coeliac disease after lymphoma diagnosis (1, 8 and 10 years later respectively). Ten non-Hodgkin's lymphomas were of T-cell origin and 4 were B-cell lymphomas. Eight out of 14 presented on a surgical emergency. Thirteen were treated using chemotherapy. The median survival from the diagnosis of enteropathy associated T-cell lymphoma was 12 months (range 1-126).

Conclusions: Lymphomas associated with coeliac disease are heterogeneous and their diagnosis is difficult. The enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma is the most frequent, aggressive and fatal complication of coeliac disease but it is not rare to observe association with B-cell lymphoma. Chemotherapy is highly toxic in those patients. Despite a poor prognosis, long-term survival can be expected in a fraction of these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Celiac Disease / complications
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis*
  • Celiac Disease / pathology
  • Celiac Disease / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / complications
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis