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Mantle cell lymphoma

Mantle Cell Lymphoma

Mantle Cell Lymphoma (or MCL) is one of the rarest types of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. This is a B-cell lymphoma that appears on the mantle zone of the lymph nodes. It is causing the lymph cells to divide in early stages of the development, so they can’t defend the body from the diseases. Cancer could spread to the other parts of the body, including gastrointestinal (GI) tract, bone marrow, liver, and spleen.

There is no identified cause of this medical problem and patients do not tend to have genetic predisposition to MCL.

This medical condition is more common in people over 50, and men are 3 times more likely to develop MCL than women. The condition is proven difficult for the treatment and patients usually survive 3 to 6 years with this diagnosis. In the United States, there are about 15.000 people suffering from this condition.

Stages of MCL

Mantle cell lymphoma is characterized by the symptoms similar to other lymphomas, including: swelling of the lymph nodes, loss of weight, poor appetite, profuse night sweating and fever. To establish the exact diagnose, doctor will take a biopsy of the lymph node and look at it under the microscope. Additional blood tests, PET or CT scans and the bone marrow biopsy may be necessary to reveal the advancement of the lymphoma in the body.

There are couple of grades of MCL: MCL grade A is the condition without the common symptoms (night sweating), grade B is the illness which presents itself with the symptoms and grad E is the extranodal MCL. MCL grade E hasn’t originated in the lymph nodes, but in some other organs of the body.

Mantle cell lymphoma is divided into 4 stages, according to the extent of the cancer. In stage I cancer affects just the lymph nodes. In the stage II cancer has spread to the lymph groups on the same side of the diaphragm, or it involves the lymph nodes and the spleen. MCL in stage III affects lymph nodes on both sides of the diaphragm, and stage IV MCL includes the metastasis of the cancer to bone marrow or the liver.

MCL Treatment

The therapy mainly depends on the stages of MCL, but the effective treatment is yet to be discovered. The common treatment includes the medications used to boost the immune system and destroy cancer cells. Such medications are interferon and rituximab.

There are also chemotherapy options, such as R-CHOP and FCR. Radiation is used in stages I and II. It may be the only treatment or used combined with chemotherapy. For the late stages of the lymphoma, there is an aggressive procedure called stem cell therapy.

Some clinical studies are still ongoing, to find the treatment for this medical condition. One of these potential treatments is Zevalin, the radioimmunotherapy.

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