Medical Definition of T-cell lymphoma

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017

T-cell lymphoma: A disease in which cells in the lymphoid system called T cells (or T lymphocytes) become malignant. T-cell lymphomas account for a minority (about 15%) of non-Hodgkin lymphomas in the US and are more common in Asia.

The T-cell lymphomas are highly diverse and include lymphoblastic lymphoma (mainly in children and adolescents, where they account for about half of pediatric lymphomas); peripheral T-cell lymphoma (a heterogeneous group of generally aggressive diseases); mycosis fungoides (called Sézary syndrome if the malignant T cells circulate in blood); and some anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), both primary cutaneous and systemic ALCL.

T-cell lymphoma may involve the bone marrow but it usually comprises less than 25% of the marrow. If 25% or more of the marrow is populated by the malignant T cells, it is considered T-cell leukemia.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017