Low-grade non-hodgkin lymphomas

Semin Radiat Oncol. 2007 Jul;17(3):198-205. doi: 10.1016/j.semradonc.2007.02.006.


The most common low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphomas are of B-cell origin. This review will focus on follicular lymphomas and extranodal marginal zone lymphomas, also known as mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphomas. These are radiation-sensitive lymphomas. Moderate doses (30-35 Gy) for these stage I and II low-grade lymphomas result in long-term local control and possible cure. Involved-field radiation therapy is the standard approach and produces minimal morbidity. However, a significant proportion of patients relapse with systemic disease outside of radiation fields. For follicular lymphoma, this occurs in approximately 50% of patients after 15 years and for nongastric MALT lymphoma 30% to 40% after 10 years. Patients with relapsed disease are not curable with chemotherapy, but the disease often remains indolent and prolonged survival is observed. For gastric MALT lymphomas associated with Helicobacter pylori but which did not respond to antibiotic therapy, radiation treatment is indicated and almost always curative. For localized MALT lymphomas not related to microorganisms, radiation therapy is the initial standard therapy regardless of anatomic location. Patients with stage III and IV low-grade lymphoma and local symptoms are often successfully palliated with a low dose regimen of 2 x 2 Gy (total dose 4 Gy).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Helicobacter Infections / radiotherapy
  • Helicobacter pylori / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / radiotherapy
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell, Marginal Zone / microbiology
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell, Marginal Zone / radiotherapy
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / radiotherapy
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / radiotherapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Palliative Care
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Stomach Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / radiotherapy