Peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL) comprises a heterogeneous group of haematological tumours, which originate from mature T-cells, and constitute less than 15% of all non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs) in adults. The current WHO classification recognizes nine distinct clinicopathologic peripheral T-cell NHLs, being the ‘unspecified variant’ (PTCL-U) the most common subtype. These neoplasms often present in advanced stage at diagnosis, and most commonly have an aggressive clinical course requiring prompt treatment. The rarity of these tumours requires additional studies to better understand their biology and search for new therapies which may hopefully improve the dismal outcome of most patients. This review aims to describe the pathobiological aspects as well the clinical characteristics and current therapeutic strategies of the PTCLs, with special attention to the group of PTCL-U Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.