Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is a group of slow-growing NHLs that start in B-cell lymphocytes, and represent about eight percent of all NHLs. The average age at time of diagnosis for MZL is 60 years old, and they are slightly more common in women than in men.
The most common MZL is mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma, which occurs outside of the lymph nodes. MALT lymphoma is divided into two categories: gastric, which develops in the stomach and is the most common site, and non-gastric, which develops outside of the stomach. In many cases of MALT lymphoma, the patient has a previous medical history of chronic infection, inflammation, or autoimmune disorders in the affected organ.
MALT lymphoma may be treated with antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery. Treatment for MALT lymphoma is usually very successful, but this will depend on the type and the stage at which it is diagnosed. If the lymphoma is growing very slowly and not causing any problems, treatment might not be needed for some time. The physician will monitor it closely so that if the lymphoma starts to grow, a course of treatment can be started.
In the case of stomach cancer, getting rid of H. pylori bacteria can cause the lymphoma to go into remission. This may be accomplished through a triple therapy involving two antibiotics and an antacid treatment. When MALT lymphomas occur in other areas, they are usually treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or a targeted monoclonal antibody therapy called rituximab.