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Marginal zone lymphoma

Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is the name given to a group of closely related forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) including mucosal associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma, nodal-marginal zone lymphoma and splenic marginal zone lymphoma.

They all affect a type of white blood cells called B lymphocytes. Unlike leukaemia, in lymphoma the abnormal cells are present in lymphoid tissues, which make up the lymphatic system although marginal zone lymphoma can initially present with bone marrow involvement. 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.

Marginal zone lymphoma is a low-grade form of NHL. This means that it develops slowly and, even if not treated, it grows slowly. It is called marginal zone because it mainly affects lymphocytes at the edges of lymphoid tissue or nodes.

There are three types of marginal zone lymphoma:

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