Lymphoma is the most common form of blood cancer. The two main forms of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, grow abnormally. The body has two main types of lymphocytes that can develop into lymphomas: B-lymphocytes (B-cells) and T-lymphocytes (T-cells). These cancerous lymphocytes can travel to many parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, blood or other organs, and can accumulate to form tumors.
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a rare form of NHL, constituting roughly 6 percent of all NHL cases in the United States (i.e., only about 3,000 cases per year). It is considered an aggressive B-cell lymphoma. Frequently, mantle cell lymphoma is diagnosed at a later stage of disease and in most cases involves the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow. The disease gets its name because mantle cell tumors are composed of cells that come from the “mantle zone” of the lymph node.