Enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma: improving treatment strategies

Dig Dis. 2015;33(2):231-235. doi: 10.1159/000369542. Epub 2015 Apr 22.


Enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma (EATL) is a rare and usually rapidly fatal intestinal T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It arises from intraepithelial lymphocytes and has a high association with coeliac disease. The high mortality of EATL is associated not only with the very aggressive and often chemotherapy-refractory nature of the lymphoma. The poor condition of patients due to prolonged and severe malnutrition compromises the ability to deliver chemotherapy. There are no standardized treatment protocols, and the optimal therapy for EATL remains unclear. The primary step of treatment consists of local debulking, preferably as early as possible after EATL diagnosis. Morbidity and mortality seem to rise with advanced stages of disease due to tumour size progression, worse nutritional status and a higher risk of emergency surgery due to perforation. Standard induction therapy for EATL is anthracycline-based chemotherapy, preferably resumed between 2 and 5 weeks after surgery (depending on clinical condition). Intensification of therapy using high-dose chemotherapy followed by consolidation with BEAM and autologous stem cell transplantation is associated with better outcome. Notably, this treatment strategy has only been applied in patients eligible for this aggressive regimen which might reflect selection bias. Unfortunately, prognosis of EATL remains poor; 5-year survival varies from 8 to 60% depending on the eligibility to receive additional steps of therapy. New treatment strategies are urgently needed for a better prognosis of this lethal complication of coeliac disease. Brentuximab vedotin (anti-CD30) might be promising when added to conventional chemotherapy and is suggested as upfront treatment in EATL.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Consolidation Chemotherapy
  • Enteropathy-Associated T-Cell Lymphoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Induction Chemotherapy