Long-term follow-up results of no initial therapy for ocular adnexal MALT lymphoma

Ann Oncol. 2006 Jan;17(1):135-40. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdj025. Epub 2005 Oct 19.


Background: The majority of lymphomas in the ocular adnexa are low-grade B-cell lymphomas of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT lymphoma). Although radiotherapy is the most frequently applied management, cataract and dry eye are problematic complications.

Patients and methods: Between 1973 and 2003, the clinical features of 36 patients with ocular adnexal MALT lymphoma with no symptoms who were managed with no initial therapy after biopsy or surgical resection were retrospectively analyzed.

Results: The median patient age was 63 years (range 22-84) and all patients had stage I disease, consisting of 31 unilateral cases and five bilateral cases. With a median follow-up of 7.1 years, 25 (69%) did not require treatment. The median time until the initiation of treatment in the remaining 11 patients (31%) was 4.8 years. Six patients (17%) died, and among them only two (6%) died due to progressive lymphoma. Seventeen patients (47%) progressed, but histologic transformation was recognized in only one (3%). The estimated overall survival rates of the 36 patients after 5, 10 and 15 years were 94%, 94% and 71%, respectively.

Conclusions: In selected patients with ocular adnexal MALT lymphoma, no initial therapy might be an acceptable approach, because 70% of patients remained untreated at a median of 8.6 years, and their survival was comparable to that of reports on immediate therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell, Marginal Zone / chemistry
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell, Marginal Zone / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell, Marginal Zone / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Orbital Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Orbital Neoplasms / secondary
  • Orbital Neoplasms / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies