T-cell lymphoma

T-cell lymphoma is a type of cancer where the T-cells become malignant. The T-cells are part of the immune system and normally help to fight of diseases and bacteria. T-cell lymphoma is one of the diseases that are classified as being Non-Hodgkins. Actually it accounts for about 15% of all non-Hodgkins related lymphomas. T-cell lymphomas are more prevalent in Asia than they are in the U.S. T-cell lymphoma is subtyped into 4 categories which are; anaplastic T-cell, cutaneous T-cell, angioimmunoblastic and extranodal T-cell lymphoma.

Anaplastic T-cell lymphoma is rare and can afflict children and young adults at any time. More boys than girls develop this kind of t-cell lymphoma. The first symptoms the child can have of this kind of lymphoma is enlarged lymph nodes. For a definitive diagnosis the lymph nodes have undergo biopsy.

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is the type that affects the skin. This kind can resemble other skin conditions and may not be detected for several years. Areas of the skin can become irritated and the nearby lymph nodes will swell. Mushroom-like reddish skin tumors can develop. In the later stages of this kind of t-cell lymphoma the internal organs can be affected. Sezary syndrome is an aggressive form of this lymphoma. It also involves the patient having malignant lymphocytes in the blood.

Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma is one that can develop in older adults and affects the lymp nodes. It more often strikes males than females. This can be an aggressive lymphoma that can also affect the organs like the liver, spleen and bone marrow. This is a fast growing form which when diagnosed is usually already in advanced stages. Around 15% to 20% of the T-cell lymphomas are angioimmunoblastic lymphomas. The symptoms of this kind of t-cell lymphoma include fever and rash, edema, night sweats, rheumatoid arthritis and pleural effusions.

Extranodal T-cell lymphoma is the kind that is found in places like the nasal cavity and intestinal tract, spleen and liver. One form that involves the lining of the small intestine is Enteropathy Type T-cell lymphoma. It is caused by untreated celiac disease. The patient has symptoms like vomiting, weight loss, stomach pain, bowel obstruction, anemia, abdominal mass, low serum albumin and high serum alkaline phosphatase. Another type in this category is hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma which involves the liver, spleen and bone marrow. This form afflicts young adults, usually males more than females.

There is another type of T-cell lymphoma called Adult T-Cell Lymphoma. This is a very aggressive type and is caused by being infected by the human T-cell lymphotrophic virus 1 (HTLV-1), which is a virus much like the HIV virus. This virus is transmitted by sexual contact, breast milk and blood transfusions. This is a rare form in which the symptoms begin to present rapidly. Symptoms include irregular heart beat, enlarged lymph nodes in the groin or neck, extreme fatigue, rash and hypercalcemia. Sometimes only the skin and lymph nodes are involved.

T-cell lymphomas are usually diagnosed by doing a biopsy on the tumor and viewing the cells under a microscope. There are all kinds of t-cell lymphomas and the diagnosis can be difficult since many of the cells can look the same. Certain blood tests are also done to determine which kind it is. Different kinds of treatments are prescribed for different kinds of t-cell lymphomas. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and bone marrow transplants are some of the options. Other treatment options that may be used include the use of ultraviolet light therapy and electron beam radiation therapy. Electron beam radiation therapy does not penetrate the organs and is useful for t-cell lymphomas that afflict the skin.

Last updated on Feb 23rd, 2011 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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