Management of NK/T-Cell Lymphoma, Nasal Type

J Oncol Pract. 2019 Oct;15(10):513-520. doi: 10.1200/JOP.18.00719.


Extranodal natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type, is a rare peripheral T-cell lymphoma associated with Epstein-Barr virus. It most often presents as limited-stage disease in patients of East Asian descent with a palatal deformity caused by erosion of the tumor through the hard palate. Limited-stage disease is often curable with the use of l-asparaginase-based chemotherapy and high-dose radiation therapy. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is essential, because treatment with standard lymphoma regimens and omission of radiation severely compromise the likelihood of long-term survival. Conversely, patients with advanced disease have a poor prognosis and are recommended for asparaginase-based chemotherapy followed by consolidation with autologous transplantation as a potentially curative approach. Progress often has been hampered by the rarity of this disease. However, discovery of common genetic alterations in pathways that promote growth and inhibit apoptosis, and actionable markers such as CD30 (among others), have begun to broaden the availability of novel drugs (eg, targeted therapies). There is also cautious optimism about immunotherapies, such as checkpoint blockade and novel cellular therapies that target Epstein-Barr virus. Advances in treatment and understanding of the genetic landscape of this disease offer hope for improved treatment outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Extranodal NK-T-Cell / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma, Extranodal NK-T-Cell / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, Extranodal NK-T-Cell / etiology
  • Lymphoma, Extranodal NK-T-Cell / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • SEER Program
  • Treatment Outcome