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Leukemia & Lymphoma

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Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Cellular Classification of Childhood NHL

Table 2. Major Histopathological Categories of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Children and Adolescentsa continued...

Clinically, systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma has a broad range of presentations, including involvement of lymph nodes and a variety of extranodal sites, particularly skin and bone and, less often, gastrointestinal tract, lung, pleura, and muscle. Involvement of the CNS and bone marrow is uncommon. Anaplastic large cell lymphoma is often associated with systemic symptoms (e.g., fever, weight loss) and a prolonged waxing and waning course, making diagnosis difficult and often delayed. Patients with anaplastic large cell lymphoma may present with signs and symptoms consistent with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.[38] There is a subgroup of anaplastic large cell lymphoma with leukemic peripheral blood involvement. These patients usually exhibit significant respiratory distress with diffuse lung infiltrates or pleural effusions and have hepatosplenomegaly. Most of these patients have an aberrant T-cell immunophenotype with frequent expression of myeloid antigens. Patients in this anaplastic large cell lymphoma subgroup may require more aggressive therapy.[39,40]

Lymphoproliferative disease associated with immunodeficiency in children

The incidence of lymphoproliferative disease or lymphoma is 100-fold higher in immunocompromised children than in the general population. The cause of such immune deficiencies may be a genetically inherited defect, secondary to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, or iatrogenic following transplantation (solid organ transplantation or allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation [HSCT]). Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with most of these tumors, but some tumors are not associated with any infectious agent.

NHL associated with HIV is usually aggressive, with most cases occurring in extralymphatic sites.[41] HIV-associated NHL can be broadly grouped into three subcategories: (1) systemic (nodal and extranodal), (2) primary CNS lymphoma, and (3) body cavity-based lymphoma, also referred to as primary effusion lymphoma. Approximately 80% of all NHL in HIV patients is considered to be systemic.[41] Primary effusion lymphoma, a unique lymphomatous effusion associated with the human herpesvirus-8 (HHV8) gene or Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus, is primarily observed in adults infected with HIV but has been reported in HIV-infected children.[42] Highly active antiretroviral therapy has decreased the incidence of NHL in HIV-positive individuals, particularly for primary CNS lymphoma cases.[43,44] Most childhood HIV-related NHL is of mature B-cell phenotype but with a spectrum, including primary effusion lymphoma, primary CNS lymphoma, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT),[45] Burkitt lymphoma,[46] and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. NHL in children with HIV often presents with fever, weight loss, and symptoms related to extranodal disease, such as abdominal pain or CNS symptoms.[41]

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