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Leukemia. 2007 Aug;21(8):1812-8. Epub 2007 Jun 7.

MALT lymphoma in patients with autoimmune diseases: a comparative analysis of characteristics and clinical course.

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Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation, Department of Internal Medicine 1, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


MALT lymphoma, especially of extragastric origin, is thought to be associated with an underlying autoimmune disease (AD) in a significant proportion of patients. No systematic assessment of the clinical characteristics of MALT lymphoma arising in AD as opposed to patients without AD has been performed so far. Therefore, all patients diagnosed and treated for MALT lymphoma at our institution have prospectively undergone routine clinical and serological assessment for AD since 1997. In total, 158 patients were available for analysis, and 61 out of 158 patients (39%) were diagnosed with an underlying AD. Patients with AD were predominantly women and significantly younger at lymphoma diagnosis (56 versus 67 years, P=0.004), with a significantly higher rate of extragastric lymphomas (P=0.012). Furthermore, lymphomas in these patients showed a lower frequency of trisomy 3 (P=0.04) and a significantly lower response rate to Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy in the case of gastric lymphomas (P=0.03). All other parameters including estimated median time to relapse were comparable between both groups. Our data suggest that patients with AD develop MALT lymphoma significantly earlier in life. The clinical course, however, does not appear to be adversely influenced by the presence of AD, as neither rate of relapse nor times to relapse or survival are significantly different.

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