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Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2011 Jul;17(7):1557-63. doi: 10.1002/ibd.21516. Epub 2010 Nov 4.

Primary intestinal lymphoma in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: a descriptive series from the prebiologic therapy era.

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  • 1Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon NH 03756, USA.



Primary intestinal lymphoma in the setting of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is uncommon and may be associated with immune suppressive therapy. We report clinical features and outcomes in patients with both conditions prior to use of biologic therapy.


All patients with primary intestinal lymphoma and IBD at our institution from 1960-2000 were retrospectively identified. Data reported are frequency (proportion) or median (interquartile range). Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed.


Fifteen patients were identified: 14 (93%) were male, 10 (66%) had Crohn's disease. Median age at diagnosis of IBD and lymphoma was 30 (22-51) and 47 (28-68) years, respectively, with bloody diarrhea the most common presenting symptom for each diagnosis. Lymphoma location was colorectal in nine (60%), small bowel in four (27%), and one (6.25%) each: stomach, duodenum, and ileal pouch. Treatments were surgery plus chemotherapy (n = 6), surgery alone (n = 3), chemotherapy alone (n = 2), chemotherapy and radiation (n = 1), surgery and radiation (n = 1); two patients died before treatment. Most patients (n = 11, 73%) were Ann Arbor stages I or II. Large cell B-type histology was most common (n = 9, 60%). Three patients died within 30 days of lymphoma diagnosis. Survival free of death from lymphoma at 1- and 5-years was 78% and 63%, respectively, and was associated with advanced lymphoma stage (P = 0.004).


Diagnosis and treatment of primary intestinal lymphoma in patients with IBD can be challenging and requires a high index of suspicion. Optimal survival requires multimodality therapy.

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