• splenic marginal zone lymphoma;
  • nodal marginal zone lymphoma;
  • low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma;
  • marginal zone



Splenic and nodal marginal zone lymphomas (MZL) are subtypes of marginal zone-derived neoplasms. Due to their rarity, little is known concerning their relation, pattern of dissemination, and treatment outcome.


The authors analyzed the clinicopathologic features and outcome of 43 patients (34 patients with splenic MZL and 9 patients with nodal MZL). All lesional tissues obtained at diagnosis were reviewed histologically.


Among the patients with splenic MZL, 30 patients had Stage IV disease (based on the Ann Arbor staging system). Twenty-six patients presented with splenomegaly with or without limited involvement of abdominal lymph nodes, whereas 7 patients showed disease extension to superficial lymph nodes. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) serology was positive in 35% of patients. Seventeen patients underwent splenectomy, 8 patients received chemotherapy, and 7 patients were followed without initial treatment. Interferon produced a lymphoma response in three of four HCV positive patients. Of 27 treated patients, 13 patients achieved a complete response, and 12 patients achieved a partial response. The median event-free survival (EFS) was 3.3 years (5.1 years for patients with disease confined to the abdomen and 2.1 years for patients with disease extension to superficial lymph nodes). Among nine patients with nodal MZL, four patients had Stage IV disease. HCV serology was positive in two patients. Five patients responded to chemotherapy. The median EFS was 2.8 years. The median overall survival was not reached for patients with both types of MZL.


The results of the current study demonstrated that splenic and nodal MZL are indolent lymphomas with different presenting features but common morphologic and biologic characteristics, including high HCV seroprevalence. Studies will be required to identify specific biologic markers and to define the best treatment. Cancer 2004;100:107–15. © 2003 American Cancer Society.