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Ann Oncol. 1995 Apr;6(4):355-62.

Gastric B-cell mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma. Clinicopathological study and evaluation of the prognostic factors in 143 patients.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain.



Gastric MALT lymphoma can be histologically classified into two groups, low-grade (LG) and high-grade (HG); however, their natural history is poorly understood. We have studied a large retrospective series aiming to confirm whether the histological groups confer different clinical features and behavior and to analyze the prognostic factors in these patients.


A series of 143 gastric B-cell MALT lymphomas is reported. Eighty-four were low-grade lymphomas (LG) and 59 were high-grade lymphomas (HG). Median follow-up was 36 months. The clinical and analytical parameters of the 84 LG patients were compared with those of the 59 HG patients. In the patients who had been operated on, the pathological features (macroscopical patterns, tumor size, involvement of resection margins, degree of parietal invasion and involvement of abdominal lymph nodes and adjacent viscera) of the LG patients were compared with those of the HG patients. The sites of relapses were studied. In the 132 treated and followed-up patients the influence of the treatment and that of clinical, analytical and pathological features on survival were investigated with the Kaplan and Meier and log-rank tests. To identify the factors with independent influence on survival, a Cox model was fitted for the whole series and separately for 53 HG patients.


HG group differed from the LG group by a significantly higher frequency of weight loss at presentation, palpable abdominal mass, hepatomegaly, peripheral lymphadenopathy, elevated serum LDH, higher incidence of stage III-IV and tumor/mass patterns in the endoscopy and in the gastrectomy specimen. The tumor was significantly larger in the HG group than in the LG and the deeper invasion of the gastric wall, the higher frequency of infiltration of the abdominal lymph nodes and the visceral extension were also significant in the HG group. Complete remission (CR) was achieved in 91% of the patients of the LG group, but was significantly lower, 70%, in the HG group. Relapses occurred in the stomach and also in non-MALT sites. In 132 treated and followed-up patients, elevated serum LDH, absence of CR, HG group and stage III-IV were associated with a worse survival. In the Cox multivariate model, stage was the only variable influencing survival, although stage was related to the histological grade. In the HG group, stage was also an independent significant risk factor, whereas treatment with surgery, chemotherapy or both was not. In the 103 patients treated with surgery, a worse survival was associated with the involvement of the resection borders, depth of the infiltration of the gastric wall, dissemination to distant abdominal nodes and adjacent organs, but not with the addition of chemotherapy.


Histological classification into LG and HG separates distinctive groups of gastric MALT lymphoma that show striking clinical and prognostic differences. Besides histological grade, stage is the most important prognostic feature.

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