NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Peripheral T-cell Lymphoma, Version 1.2016
What is PTCL?
Cancer is a disease of cells. Lymphomas are
cancers that start in lymphocytes within the lymphatic
system. There are two main types of lymphomas.
Hodgkin lymphoma is defined by the presence of
Reed-Sternberg or related cells. Non-Hodgkin’s
lymphoma includes all the other types of lymphoma.
Peripheral T-cell lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin’s
Peripheral T-cell lymphoma is a cancer of T-cells.
There are many types of T-cells and thus, many T-cell
cancers. T-cells differ from one another based on the
cell’s stage of development and what job the T-cells
Very early forms (precursors) of T-cells are made
in bone marrow. They travel from the marrow to the
thymus to become mature T-cells. When T-cells are
ready to help fight illness, they leave the thymus and
travel to other lymph tissue, such as the lymph nodes.
Peripheral T-cell lymphoma starts from T-cells that
have left the thymus.
Inside of cells are coded instructions for building
new cells and controlling how cells behave. These
instructions are called genes. Genes are a part
of DNA (
cid), which is grouped
together into bundles called chromosomes.
Abnormal changes (mutations) in genes
cause normal B-cells to become cancer cells.
Researchers are still trying to learn what causes
genes to mutate and cause cancer.
Cancer cells don’t behave like normal cells. First, the
mutations cause cancer cells to grow more quickly
and live longer than normal cells. Normal cells grow
and then divide to form new cells when needed.
They also die when old or damaged as shown in
In contrast, cancer cells make new cells
that aren’t needed and don’t die quickly when old or
damaged. Over time, the lymphoma cells may build
up in tissues and may travel in blood or lymph to
other sites. Without treatment, the cancer may cause
organs not to work.
What is PTCL?