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Blood. 2011 Jan 6;117(1):26-38. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-04-189977. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Mantle cell lymphoma: biology, pathogenesis, and the molecular basis of treatment in the genomic era.

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Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892-1202, USA.


Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma of which at least a subset arises from antigen-experienced B cells. However, what role antigen stimulation plays in its pathogenesis remains ill defined. The genetic hallmark is the chromosomal translocation t(11;14) resulting in aberrant expression of cyclin D1. Secondary genetic events increase the oncogenic potential of cyclin D1 and frequently inactivate DNA damage response pathways. In combination these changes drive cell-cycle progression and give rise to pronounced genetic instability. Several signaling pathways contribute to MCL pathogenesis, including the often constitutively activated PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, which promotes tumor proliferation and survival. WNT, Hedgehog, and NF-κB pathways also appear to be important. Although MCL typically responds to frontline chemotherapy, it remains incurable with standard approaches. Proteasome inhibitors (bortezomib), mTOR inhibitors (temsirolimus), and immunomodulatory drugs (lenalidomide) have recently been added to the treatment options in MCL. The molecular basis for the antitumor activity of these agents is an area of intense study that hopefully will lead to further improvements in the near future. Given its unique biology, relative rarity, and the difficulty in achieving long-lasting remissions with conventional approaches, patients with MCL should be encouraged to participate in clinical trials.

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