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Curr Hematol Malig Rep. 2009 Oct;4(4):245-52. doi: 10.1007/s11899-009-0032-3.

Natural killer-cell neoplasms.

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Hematology/Stem Cell Transplantation, 1301 Medical Center Drive, 2665 TVC, Nashville, TN 37232, USA. john.greer@Vanderbilt.Edu


The natural killer (NK)-cell neoplasms are rare, representing less than 1% of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, except in Asia and Latin America, where they represent 3% to 6%. NK-cell neoplasms include immature acute leukemias; a blastic NK-cell lymphoma, which is obsolete because of its plasmacytoid dendritic-cell origin; and mature NK neoplasms, comprising extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma (ENKL), nasal-type; aggressive NK-cell leukemia; and chronic NK-cell lymphoproliferative disorders, which are often reactive. Epstein-Barr virus is usually detected in tumor cells of ENKL and aggressive NK-cell leukemia. The latter two mature NK neoplasms are relatively chemoresistant because of the frequent expression of P-glycoprotein. Early radiation is advocated for localized nasal ENKL. Stem cell transplantation is recommended for advanced disease, owing to a poor prognosis. Novel agents, including chemotherapy, inhibitors of molecular pathways, and monoclonal antibodies, are under investigation.

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