Systemic Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)
What is systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma?
Systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), accounting for only 1% of NHL cases. It is also a subtype of T cell lymphomas. Unlike the cutaneous form of ALCL, it can impact various organs throughout the body.
There are two forms of systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma: ALK positive and ALK negative. The former often responds well to treatment, while the latter is prone to relapse.
What are the symptoms of systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma?
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Swollen lymph nodes
Depending on where a tumor forms in your body, you may have other symptoms. For example, if the gastrointestinal system is affected, one may experience nausea, pain, bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting. Lymphoma in the chest causes coughing, a feeling of pressure in the chest, shortness of breath, and chest pain. If the bone marrow is impacted, anemia and thrombocytopenia may occur. A skin rash is also a possible symptom.
What causes systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma?
Medical professionals are unaware of the exact cause of this cancer, but they know that T cells begin to develop abnormally and multiply out of control. In very, very rare cases breast implants result in ALCL.
How is systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma diagnosed?
A diagnosis is often suspected based on the characteristics symptoms, and it must be confirmed by a biopsy. Further tests, such as imaging and blood tests, may be used to assess how far the cancer has spread.
What are the treatments for systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma?
Chemotherapy is the first choice for treatment, and a stem cell transplant will follow if the cancer relapses. It may be the first choice if the cancer is aggressive.