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Peripheral T-cell lymphoma

Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) is the name given to a group of rare forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). PTCL is a malignant condition (cancer) affecting a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes.

Peripheral T-cell lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) which makes up less than 1 in 10 cases of adult NHL. There are several different sub-types of PTCL based on features of the T cells. Lymphoma is a malignant condition (cancer) affecting a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. Unlike leukaemia, in lymphoma, the cancer cells are found in organs and tissues of the lymphatic system. 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.

PTCL is a high-grade form of NHL, this means that it develops quickly and, if not treated, it grows quickly. Peripheral refers to where in the body it most commonly appears and T cell describes the type of lymphocyte which is affected.

There are 20 sub-types but about 60% of all PTCL is made up of four sub-types;

PTCL, NOS includes all cases of PTCL which don’t fit one of the other sub-types. ALK+ or ALK- refers to the results of a particular laboratory test. They are classified separately because treatments and likely response are different.

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