This information is about a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma known as peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified. It should ideally be read with our general information about non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system and helps us fight infection. It’s made up of organs such as the bone marrow, thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes (or lymph glands). There is also lymphatic tissue in other organs such as the lungs, stomach and skin.
There are lymph nodes all over the body. They are connected by a network of tiny lymphatic vessels that contain a fluid called lymph. As lymph fluid flows through the lymph nodes, the nodes collect and filter out anything that the body doesn’t need, or that could harm the body. This includes bacteria, viruses, damaged cells, and cancer cells.
Lymph contains cells called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell and are an essential part of the body’s defence against infection and disease.
Most lymphocytes start growing in the bone marrow, which is where blood cells are made. The two main types of lymphocytes are B-cells and T-cells. The B-cells continue to develop in the bone marrow. The T-cells go from the bone marrow to the thymus gland (behind the breast bone) and mature there. When they are mature, both B-cells and T-cells help us fight infections.
Lymphoma is a disease in which either T- or B-cells grow in an uncontrolled way.
There are many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. They are grouped (or classified) according to certain characteristics. The most widely used classification system is produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Peripheral T-cell lymphomas
Peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL) are a type of NHL that make up less than 10% (1 in 10) of all cases of NHL in adults. There are different sub-types of PTCL depending on the characteristics of the T-cell.
The different sub-groups include:
- peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified
- anaplastic large cell lymphoma
- angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma
- enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma
- some very rare types of PTCL.
We have more detailed information about anaplastic large cell lymphoma. For other rare types of lymphoma, contact our cancer support specialists. They can give you more information about your illness and its treatment.
Peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified
Peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified (PTCL, NOS) is a sub-type that is made up of all the peripheral T-cell lymphomas that don’t fit into any other sub-type and are therefore ‘not otherwise specified’ or ‘unspecified’. As scientists and doctors discover more about the different types of PTCL within this sub-group, it’s likely that further sub-groups will be identified.
PTCL, NOS can occur at any age but it’s more common in adults. It affects both men and women equally.