Mantle Cell Lymphoma: Treatment and Survival Rate

The mantle cell lymphoma survival rate is highly variable. One of the several dozen known and recognized B-cell subtypes of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma represents about five percent of all non-Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnoses made each year. This amounts to between 3,500 and 4,000 new cases annually. It is more commonly diagnosed in men than women, and in people over the age of 60.

Mantle cell lymphoma was only recognized as an NHL subtype about twenty years ago, and the medical community's understanding of this disease seems to grow almost by the month. It can exhibit characteristics of an indolent disease and of an aggressive disease, which has made information about MCL seemingly unreliable.

Treatments and Mantle Cell Lymphoma Survival Rate

Mantle cell lymphoma is still poorly understood but treatment options are slowly widening. Still, there is no agreed-upon standard frontline therapy for MCL. The first drug to be given FDA approval to treat MCL was the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (Velcade). In Europe, the first drug was temsirolimus (Torisel). Other drugs used to treat MCL include bendamustine, cladribine, chlorambucil, flavopiridol, thalidomide, Rituxan, and lenalidomide. These have been used in first-line treatment and in maintenance, alone and in combination regimens such as R-CHOP.

According to a retrospective study from 2010, an autologous stem cell transplantation in the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma can lead to long-term relapse for some patients. However, relapse among patients with mantle cell lymphoma—even among those who have had a transplant—is not uncommon, and along with relapse patients often also become chemoresistant. This is a major reason why the ultimate prognosis for MCL is currently rather poor; the mantle cell lymphoma survival rate has not been well-established, but most patients tend not to survive more than 4-5 years after diagnosis.

Sources: Dietrich S et al. Patterns and outcome of relapse after autologous stem cell transplantation for mantle cell lymphoma. Cancer. 2010 Nov 29. Gov A, Kahl B. Mantle cell lymphoma: The promise of new treatment options. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2010 Dec 16. Cancercare.org, Medical Update on Mantle Cell Lymphoma, Michael E. Williams MD
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