The lymphatic system is a network of vessels forming part of the immune system that helps fight disease and infection. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) cells form in the lymph systems of both children and adults, and can spread throughout the body.
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a type NHL that usually begins in T lymphocytes. The cancer cells also have a marker called CD30 on their surface.
There are two types of anaplastic large cell lymphoma:
- Cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma, which mostly affects the skin. Signs of cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma include one or more bumps or ulcers on the skin.
- Systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma begins in the lymph nodes and may affect other parts of the body. Patients may have excessive anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) protein inside the lymphoma cells. These patients have a better prognosis than patients who do not have extra ALK protein. This lymphoma is more common in children than adults.