Thirty Years of Experience With Ocular Adnexal T-Cell Lymphoma

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2023 May-Jun;39(3):266-274. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000002309. Epub 2023 Jan 24.


Purpose: To evaluate the disease characteristics and survival of patients with ocular adnexal T-cell lymphoma.

Methods: A retrospective, observational study of patients with a histopathological diagnosis of T-cell lymphoma of the ocular adnexa seen between 1992 and 2022. Demographic data, clinical presentation, imaging, histology, immunohistochemistry, treatment, and outcomes were reviewed.

Results: Fifteen patients were included in the study with the mean age at diagnosis of 50 years old (range 7-85). The most common presenting symptoms were ulcerated eyelid skin lesions (40%) followed by eyelid swelling (13.3%), and lacrimal passageways obstruction (13.3%). The anaplastic large cell lymphoma (33%) and primary cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (33%) were the most diagnosed peripheral T-cell lymphoma subtypes, followed by the nasal type natural killer/T-cell lymphoma (27%) and peripheral T-cell lymphoma not otherwise specified (7%). The most prevalent stage of disease progression was stage I and stage IV (Ann Arbor classification) with seven (47%) patients each. Eight (53%) patients succumbed to the disease process of which three (37.5%) deceased in the first six months and six (75%) within the first year of diagnosis. We identified a strong statistical association between stage and disease-related death ( p = 0.003).

Conclusions: Peripheral T-cell lymphoma occurring in the orbit and ocular adnexa is extremely rare. Advanced stage at diagnosis leads to almost certain death from the disease despite aggressive local and systemic treatment. Early diagnosis improves the chances of survival but can be hindered by this condition's ability to simulate benign inflammatory conditions both clinically and histologically.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Conjunctival Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Eye Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell* / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell* / pathology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Peripheral*
  • Middle Aged
  • Orbital Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Young Adult