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

This entry looks at Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma in the lungs, clinically known as pulmonary lymphoma, one of the subtypes of lymphoma. 'Lymphoma' is an...

In order to prevent developing any subtype of lymphoma, it would be helpful to know the causes of lymphoma. Unfortunately, in virtually every case...

BEAM chemotherapy is an acronym representing a small family of combination chemotherapy regimens that are used chiefly as salvage regimens in the...

There are two types of cancer: benign and malignant. Benign cancers are the kind that don't spread and don't threaten one's life. Malignant...

The Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR - sometimes called sed rate or sedimentation rate) is a nonspecific screening test for various...

Blood counts can be used to identify disease and monitor patient health during cancer treatments. Though these tests cannot diagnose lymphoma on...

MALT lymphoma is a rare B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that typically runs an indolent or slow-growing clinical...

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is just one of 50-60 known B-cell subtypes of...

After some of the dust has settled, the thoughts of many new lymphoma patients turn to diet and nutrition. They want to know if, in the past,...

According to a study by Japanese researchers, the SMILE combination chemotherapy protocol is effective against extranodal natural killer/T-cell...

In a perfect world, every case of cancer would respond to, and be cured by first-line therapy. Unfortunately, it is not often the case. This is...

Patients treated with maintenance rituximab had three times longer progression-free survival. This is a summary of an article published in the...

Prednisone is a glucocorticosteroid (a steroid) used in the treatment of many types of cancers. It functions as an anti-inflammatory medicine that...

In 1964, researchers at the National Cancer Institute developed the first combination chemotherapy that cured a...

Since so many chemotherapy agents can affect a patient’s sex drive and fertility, thinking about these issues prior...