Mantle cell lymphoma is a cancer that occurs when a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte becomes cancerous and multiplies out of control.
Mantle cell lymphoma gets its name from where it forms in the outer edge of the lymph node, known as the mantle zone. The body has 3 main types
of lymphocytes, B cells, T cells, and natural killer (NK) cells, all of which are part of the immune system:
Help protect the body against bacteria and viruses by making antibodies that help the immune system recognize these pathogens and allow T cells to attack them.
The 2 major types of T cells are helper T cells and cytotoxic T cells. Helper cells assist other cells in the immune system. Cytotoxic T cells attack cells infected by pathogens.
NK cells are a type of immune cell
that can attack tumor cells or
cells infected with a virus.
The 2 main groups of lymphoma types are called Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, usually abbreviated as NHL. Mantle cell lymphoma is a relatively rare form of NHL. Of the more than 74,000 new cases of NHL per year, only about 6% are mantle cell lymphoma. Mantle cell lymphoma occurs more frequently in older adults (early 60s), and it is more often diagnosed in men than in women. Mantle cell lymphoma may be “aggressive” (fast growing), but it may be “indolent” (slow growing) in some patients. The disease can be found in many parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, and other organs throughout the lymphatic system, which is a part of the body’s immune system.
Mantle cell lymphoma is diagnosed by examining the affected tissue obtained from a surgical biopsy, usually of a lymph node.
Diagnosis may also include blood tests, CT scans, and PET scans, as well as an endoscopy or colonoscopy.