Marginal Zone Lymphoma

Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), also known as marginal zone B-cell lymphoma, is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. Classified as a group of indolent NHL B-cell lymphomas, MZL is further subdivided into three specific forms: nodal marginal zone lymphoma, splenic marginal zone lymphoma, and extranodal marginal zone lymphoma (MALT). Extranodal marginal zone lymphoma, the most common form of marginal zone lymphoma, occurs outside of the lymph nodes, in places such as the stomach, small intestine, thyroid, lungs, and more. Marginal zone lymphoma is slightly more common in women. It can occur at any age, though it is more likely to be diagnosed in people over the age of 60 years.

Signs and symptoms often do not show up in early stages of the disease. Without symptoms, the disease may have spread by the time of diagnosis. Mantle cell lymphoma may cause one or more of the following:

  • Excessive night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Unexplained weight loss

The exact underlying cause or causes of MZL are unknown. Potential risk factors are not always evident, however, but may include genetic predispositions, as well as having certain chronic infections and autoimmune diseases. Treatment plans typically depend on the stage, symptoms, and overall general health of the patient.

Treatment options for later stages of MZL may include one or more of the following:

  • Active surveillance
  • Biologic therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Stem cell or bone marrow transplant
  • Targeted therapy