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J Clin Oncol. 2003 Nov 15;21(22):4157-64.

Localized mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma treated with radiation therapy has excellent clinical outcome.

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Department of Radiation Oncology and Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.



Extranodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT lymphoma) is a distinct lymphoma with unique clinicopathologic features. We report the clinical outcome of stage I and II MALT lymphoma treated with involved field radiation therapy (RT).


From 1989 to 2000, 103 patients with stage IE and IIE disease were referred. Their median age was 60 years, with a 2:1 female predominance. Presenting sites were stomach (17 patients), orbital adnexa (31 patients), salivary glands (24 patients), thyroid gland (13 patients), and other sites (18 patients). Ninety-three patients received RT--85 received RT alone, and eight received chemotherapy and RT--with a median dose of 30 Gy. The median follow-up time was 5.1 years.


A complete response (CR) to RT alone was achieved in 84 of 85 patients. Among CR patients, 14 experienced relapse. Relapse sites were mostly contralateral paired-organ or distant MALT locations and, infrequently, lymph nodes. The crude local control rate with RT was 95.3% (81 of 85 patients). No relapses were observed in patients with stomach or thyroid lymphoma, whereas 14 of 63 patients (22%) experienced relapse in the other sites. The overall 5-year survival rate was 98%, and the disease-free survival rate was 77%. Transformed lymphoma was observed in 14% of patients (two of 14) experiencing relapse.


Moderate-dose RT achieved excellent local control in localized MALT lymphomas and had curative potential for three fourths of the patients. Gastric and thyroid MALT lymphomas had better outcome, whereas distant failures were common for other sites. Despite relapse, the disease often maintained an indolent course.

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