Coeliac disease and (extra)intestinal T-cell lymphomas: definition, diagnosis and treatment

Scand J Gastroenterol Suppl. 2004:(241):78-84. doi: 10.1080/00855920410014605.


Intestinal lymphomas encompass those lymphomas with a dominant or only localized occurrence in the intestinal tract. Coeliac disease is highly associated with enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphomas (EATLs). Coeliac disease-related lymphomas can appear at nodal or extranodal sites. EATL is often multifocal with ulcerative lesions, which explains the high perforation rate at presentation or during chemotherapy. Staging includes ear-nose-throat examination and CT scan of the chest and abdomen. Positron emission tomography (PET) scanning may be valuable. Accurate diagnosis based on endoscopic biopsies is preferable; if necessary, full thickness laparoscopic small-bowel biopsies are mandatory. Refractory coeliac disease (RCD) with aberrant T cells carries a high risk of development of EATLs. There is no satisfactory treatment for EATL, the only possibility of preventing EATL development in RCD being autologous bone marrow transplantation. EATLs can present in 20% of patients as extra-small-bowel T-cell lymphomas; such as subcutaneous panniculitis-like lymphoma, hepatosplenic gamma/delta lymphoma, nodal as well as sinus, gastric or colon disease and extraintestinal T-cell lymphomas. The majority of EATLs present as large cell lymphoma CD3+, CD8-, CD30+; however, they also present as small cell lymphoma CD3+, CD8+, CD30-. Sometimes gamma/delta lymphomas in CD are recognized. Work-up of EATL must include immunohistology, T-cell flow cytometry, T-cell rearrangement and adequate imaging with CT and PET scanning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / etiology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / therapy*
  • Risk Factors