NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Mantle Cell Lymphoma

9 NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Mantle Cell Lymphoma, 2019 1  MCL basics A disease of cells when old or damaged. They can spread far through blood or lymph. With lymphoma, cancer cells often build up in lymph nodes. They can grow through the lymph node and into nearby structures. Lymphoma can spread within and outside of the lymph system. Besides lymph nodes, it common for MCL to be found in the spleen, GI tract, and bone marrow. Genetic changes Many abnormal changes are needed for a cancer cell to form. These changes often include damage to the genetic information in a cell. Genetic information is passed down from parents to a child. It tells cells what to do. It is found within a part of a cell called the nucleus as shown in Figure 2 . Genetic information is stored in DNA (or deoxyribonucleic acid). A gene is a small segment of DNA with complex instructions. Forty-six chromosomes carry and protect a long strand of DNA. In other words, DNA is like a how-to book that contains many complex paragraphs in its 46 chapters. For most people, genetic changes that start cancer occur after birth. These changes are found only in the cancer cells. Much less often, people are born with genetic errors that promote cancer. These errors are present in all cells. Cancer can cause genetic changes that support its growth. These changes occur only in the cancer cells. There can be abnormal changes to the DNA structure, genes, and chromosomes. Sometimes, the genetic changes produce an abnormal protein that drives cancer growth. Figure 2 Genetic information Most human cells contain genetic information. The information tells cells how to build your body and make it work. It is stored in DNA. A gene is a small segment of DNA that contains complex instructions. DNA is not one long strand but a set of 46 strands. Each strand is carried and protected in a chromosome.