Angioimmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma

Angioimmunoblastic T-cellA type of white blood cell that participates in immune responses by destroying harmful substances or cells. lymphoma (AITL) is a rare, often but not always, aggressiveLymphomas that are fast growing and generally need to be treated immediately. Also called intermediate-grade or high-grade lymphomas. (fast-growing) form of peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL). While AITL only accounts for one to two percent of all NHL cases in the United States, it is one of the more common subtypes of T-cell lymphomas. Elderly patients are more likely to be diagnosed with AITL.

Symptoms

Symptoms of AITL include high fever, night sweats, skin rash, and autoimmune disorders such as autoimmune hemolytic anemiaA shortage of red blood cells, causing weakness and fatigue. (AIHA) and immune thrombocytopeniaA shortage of platelets in the blood, which reduces the ability of the blood to clot. (ITP). As a result of these autoimmune disorders, the body’s immune systemOne of the body's defense mechanisms. All lymphomas are a disease of the immune system. attacks its own cells and tissues, such as red blood cells (AIHA) or platelets (ITP).

Diagnosis

Diagnosing AITL requires taking a biopsyRemoval of a small piece of tissue for evaluation under a microscope. (sample of the tumorAn abnormal mass or swelling of tissue, that can occur  anywhere in the body. tissue) and looking at the cells under a microscope. A series of other tests may be done to determine the extent, or stageThe extent of cancer in the body, including whether the disease has spread from the original site to other body parts., of the disease. These can include blood tests, a computed tomography (CTComputed tomography (CT). This imaging test provides a series of detailed picutres of inside the body using an X-ray machine linked to a computer.) scan, a positron emission tomographyA test that evaluates metabolic activity in different parts of the body using radioisotope. (PET) scan, a magnetic resonance imagingA test using magnets and radio frequency waves to prodcue images of inside the body. (MRI) scan, and bone marrowSpongy material found inside the bones containing stem cells that develop into three types of cells: red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the body and take away carbon dioxide; white blood cells that protect the body from infection; and platelets biopsy.

The majority of patients with AITL are diagnosed with advanced-stage disease, either Stage III or Stage IVThrough the vein.. In Stage III, affected lymph nodesSmall bean-shaped glands located in the small vessels of the lymphatic system. There are thousands of lymph nodes located throughout the body, with clusters of them in the neck, under the arms, the chest, abdomen and groin. Lymph nodes filter lymph fluid, trapping and destroying potentially harmful bacteria and viruses. are found both above and below the diaphragmThe muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the abdomen from the chest.. In Stage IV, one or more organs beyond the lymphThe watery fluid in the lymph system that contains white blood cells (lymphocytes). nodes are affected, such as the bone, bone marrow, skin or liver.

To learn more about angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, download the AITL Factsheet.

See also: PTCL Fact Sheet