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Anaplastic large cell lymphoma

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Unlike leukaemia, in lymphoma, the cancer cells are found in organs and tissues of the lymphatic system although for few patients it can also involve the bone marrow. The lymphatic system is a network of fine vessels, glands and channels which occur throughout the body. It also conveys nutrients and cells, and is responsible for draining fluid and waste products away from tissues, and into the blood stream to be processed. The lymphatic system is an important part of the immune system and is made up of lymph nodes and vessels and of collections of lymphocytes in other tissues.

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is quite rare. It is more likely to affect children and young adults, and is more commonly found in males. This type of lymphoma is usually made up of T-cells, although in some cases the type of cell making up the lymphoma is unclear. In some cases, it may only affect the skin, which is known as cutaneous ALCL.

  • Published: Mar 2017
  • Next planned review: Mar 2019