Cancer by the Numbers: Mantle cell lymphoma


lymphatic systemMantle cell is a rare type of lymphoma that accounts for about 1 in 20 cases of non-Hodgkin lymphomas and about 3300 people are diagnosed in the United States per year. It is a cancer of the B-lymphocytes in the portion of lymph nodes called the mantle zone or outer edge of the lymph node.

There are different patterns of mantle cell lymphoma that can be seen under the microscope: mantle zone, nodular, diffuse and blastic. The mantle zone type may be slow growing and very responsive to standard chemotherapy, unlike the other types.

This type of lymphoma frequently spreads to the bone marrow and is not as responsive to chemotherapy as other types of lymphomas. Mantle cell lymphoma can occur at any age from the late 30's to old age, but is more common in people over 50. It is three times more common in men than in women.

The first signs of this disease is often painless swelling in the neck, armpit or groin, caused by enlarged lymph nodes. Often more than one group of nodes is affected. The lymphoma may spread to various organs in the body such as bone marrow, liver or spleen. About 1 in 4 people will have the disease also appear in the stomach or bowel. Some other symptoms include loss of appetite, tiredness, night sweats, unexplained high temperatures and weight loss.

Diagnosis is made by removing an enlarged lymph node and having it biopsied. Additional tests such as x-rays, scans and bone marrow samples are used to get more information about the type of lymphoma and how far it has spread within the body. This information is helpful in deciding what treatment is most appropriate.


The stage of non-Hodgkin lymphoma describe how many groups of lymph nodes are affected, where they are in the body, and whether other organs such as bone marrow or liver involvement.

  • Stage I: The lymphoma is only in one group of lymph nodes, in one area of the body.
  • Stage II: More than one group of lymph nodes are involved but the affected nodes are either in the upper half or lower half of he body.
  • Stage III: Lymphoma is present in the lymph nodes in the upper and lower half of the body.
  • Stage IV: Lymphoma has spread to other organs such as the liver or lungs.

Grading is also an important factor and non-Hodgkin lymphomas are divided into either low grade or high grade disease. Mantle cell lymphoma is a low-grade lymphoma but can behave more aggressively.

The most commonly used treatment for mantle cell lymphoma is the use of chemotherapy called CHOP-R. This includes the chemotherapy drugs vincristine, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, prednisone and the monoclonal antibody rituximab. Another chemotherapy that is sometimes used is fludarabine. This drug may be given in combination with cyclophosphamide and rituximab, which is known as FCR regime. Some patients might receive high-dose treatment with stem cell support. This type of treatment involves very intensive chemotherapy and sometimes radiation.

Radiation may also be used along with chemotherapy when the lymphoma cells are contained in one or two groups of lymph nodes in the same part of the body. (Stage I or II disease).

Standard chemotherapy usually can treat but not cure mantle cell lymphoma. Patients are encouraged to consider participating in a clinical trial or consider innovative treatment protocols.

To find out more information about mantle cell lymphoma you can go to the following websites:

source - the Cancer Blog 


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