How is Mesenteric Lymphoma Diagnosed?

This entry looks at what is sometimes referred to as mesenteric lymphoma, also referred to as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the mesentery, one of the categorical types of lymphoma. 'Lymphoma' is an umbrella term that loosely refers to several dozen independent categorical types and subtypes of cancers of the lymphatic system.

What does 'Mesenteric' Mean?

The term 'mesenteric' or mesentery refers to folds of tissue that attach organs to the body wall. Relevant to this article, the small bowel mesentery connects the small intestine to the abdominal wall. A variety of nerves, as well as blood and lymph vessels pass through here. Additionally, the mesenteric lymph nodes, sometimes involved in various lymphomas, are located here.

How is Mesenteric Lymphoma Diagnosed?

When the mesentery is imaged by way of CT or ultrasound, a very telling image will appear if the patient is suffering from mesenteric lymphoma. This is called the 'Sandwich sign'. What this means is that there are confluent mesenteric lymph nodes that represent the two half buns of a sandwich. The 'filling' is made up of tubular mesenteric vessels and perivascular fat.

Symptoms of mesenteric lymphomas are not quite the same as we see in other lymphomas, largely because of the region itself. Thus if and when symptoms do appear from such a tumor, they tend to cause intestinal problems such as constipation, as well as diffuse abdominal pain and occasionally nausea and/or vomiting.

Mesenteric lymphomas can become quite large and yet not cause any symptoms. In fact, these lymphomas are often found on accident, when doctors or surgeons are looking for something else. In one noted case, a mesenteric tumor was discovered in a completely asymptomatic patient that measured a shocking 18x14x10 cm.

How is Mesenteric Lymphoma Treated and What is the Prognosis?

To reiterate, mesenteric tumors or masses are typically not found unless by mistake, and can, therefore, grow quite large. Surgical resection of the tumor is a common treatment, followed by adjuvant chemotherapy.

It is difficult to say with any broad accuracy what kind of prognosis can be expected with mesenteric lymphoma, and that is because the disease itself is so rare, and so little research has been done specifically on this disease, even retrospectively.

Sources: Salemis NS et al. Diffuse large B cell lymphoma of the mesentery: an unusual presentation and review of the literature. J Gastrointest Cancer. 2009;40(3-4):79-82. Medscape: Mesenteric Tumors. Medappil N, Reghukumar R. Sandwich sign in mesenteric lymphoma. J Can Res Ther 2010;6:403-4
Photo: Pixabay

More Articles

More Articles

The term 'metastatic lymphoma' does not refer to a diagnosis. Unlike many of the subtypes of lymphoma we have...

It is nearly impossible to talk about a survival rate for...

Lymphosarcoma is a malignant tumor (or tumors) derived from lymphoid tissue (lymph nodes, tonsils, thymus, spleen, etc.). It is an illness that...

Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) is an aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) that occurs in B-cells....

Burkitt's lymphoma is an aggressive B-cell lymphoma that is common in children...

Large Cell Lymphoma (LCL) is typically an aggressive (fast growing) cancer of either the B cell or T cell type. They are one of the most common...

A lymphoma diagnosis is not difficult to determine once a patient and doctor begin to look for signs of cancer...

The lymphatic system, or lymph system, defends the body from foreign invasion by disease causing agents such as viruses, bacteria, or fungi. The...

Lymphomas are classified based on the type of cells involved. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas are marked by mutations of...

Hodgkin's Lymphoma (Disease) has a colorful history: It was not the first cancer discovered but it was one of the first in which treatments were...

Often the one who makes the first diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma / Disease is the person affected. There are some...

Lymphoma is a general term for cancer in the lymph system. The lymph system is made up of many cells and organs, including the lymph nodes, thymus...

Advances in the treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma have resulted in remarkable survival rates, even for...

While the average lifespan for hamsters is only about 2.5 years, and they are therefore less prone to long-term illnesses, it is possible for a...

Lymphoma is a cancer affecting the white blood cells (lymphocytes) of the body's immune system. The cells begin to grow abnormally and much faster...