MALT lymphoma

Last revised by Dr Derek Smith on 26 Jan 2021

Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma, also called extranodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma, is a type of low-grade extranodal lymphoma

MALT lymphoma represents ~7.5% of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. The average age of presentation is 60 years with a slight female predominance 1. Prevalence is estimated at 2 per 100,000 7

Clinical presentation depends on the affected organ. B-type symptoms are rare 1,3.

MALT lymphomas arise in epithelial tissues where lymphoid cells are not usually found. Chronic infection/inflammation has been implicated in the pathogenesis, for example, Helicobacter pylori infection with gastric MALT lymphoma, and Sjögren syndrome with salivary gland MALT lymphoma 1,3. Less than 10% transform from low-grade to high-grade disease 4.

MALT lymphoma can localize throughout the entire body 1,4:

Metastases to other sites including lymph nodes and bone marrow are not uncommon. 

Imaging features of MALT lymphoma depend on which organ is affected. 

MALT lymphoma is considered an indolent disease with a good prognosis. Treatment should be tailored to the affected organ and may consist of surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy 2. Antibiotics are used to treat gastric MALT lymphoma; there is a lack of evidence for its use in treating non-gastric MALT lymphoma 7.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: MALT lymphoma of the appendix
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  • Case 2: gastric MALT lymphoma
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