Pediatric T- and NK-cell lymphomas: new biologic insights and treatment strategies

Blood Cancer J. 2012 Apr;2(4):e65. doi: 10.1038/bcj.2012.8. Epub 2012 Apr 13.


T- and natural killer (NK)-cell lymphomas are challenging childhood neoplasms. These cancers have varying presentations, vast molecular heterogeneity, and several are quite unusual in the West, creating diagnostic challenges. Over 20 distinct T- and NK-cell neoplasms are recognized by the 2008 World Health Organization classification, demonstrating the diversity and potential complexity of these cases. In pediatric populations, selection of optimal therapy poses an additional quandary, as most of these malignancies have not been studied in large randomized clinical trials. Despite their rarity, exciting molecular discoveries are yielding insights into these clinicopathologic entities, improving the accuracy of our diagnoses of these cancers, and expanding our ability to effectively treat them, including the use of new targeted therapies. Here, we summarize this fascinating group of lymphomas, with particular attention to the three most common subtypes: T-lymphoblastic lymphoma, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and peripheral T-cell lymphoma-not otherwise specified. We highlight recent findings regarding their molecular etiologies, new biologic markers, and cutting-edge therapeutic strategies applied to this intriguing class of neoplasms.

Keywords: ALCL; NK-cell; PTCL; T-cell; lymphoblastic lymphoma.