Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), is a rare type of lymphoma that develops from B lymphocytes (B cells) in the mantle zone of lymphoid tissue. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells made in the bone marrow and lymph nodes and are vital to the body’s immune system. In most cases, MCLs are fast-growing, but can also present as indolent (slow growing). Men are twice as likely to be affected than women. Mantle cell lymphoma can occur at any age though it is more commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 60 years.
Signs and symptoms often do not show up in early stages of the disease. The disease may occur in the gastrointestinal tract or bone marrow. Mantle cell lymphoma may cause one or more of the following:
- Belly pain or bloating
- A sense of fullness or discomfort (from enlarged spleen, liver, or tonsils)
- Excessive night sweats
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Unexplained weight loss
The exact underlying cause or causes of mantle cell lymphoma are unknown. Potential risk factors are not always evident, however, may include exposure to certain chemicals, genetic predispositions, personal or family history of blood-related cancers. Treatment plans typically depend on the stage, as well as the symptoms and overall general health of the patient. If there are no obvious or very few symptoms, doctors will often encourage active surveillance. Because mantle cell lymphoma often goes undetected until later stages, it has the poorest prognosis of all lymphomas.
Treatment options for MCL may include one or more of the following:
- Active surveillance
- Biologic therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Stem cell or bone marrow transplant
- Targeted therapy