What is gastric MALT lymphoma?:
Gastric MALT lymphoma is a type of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) affecting the stomach. To learn more about who the causes, symptoms and tests for this lymphoma see the article MALT Lymphoma.
Treatment options for gastric MALT lymphoma:
The following treatments can be used for gastric MALT lymphomas:
- Treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection
- Radiation therapy
Let us look at how these different treatments fit in.
Treatment of H pylori infection:
Many cases of MALT lymphoma of the stomach are strongly associated with infection with H pylori, a bacterium that commonly causes gastritis and stomach ulcers. It has been seen that in those patients with MALT lymphoma who also test positive for H pylori, antibiotics for H pylori may actually control the cancer. In 3 out of 4 patients with early disease, H pylori treatment may result in a complete resolution of the tumor. The disease remains controlled in many patients. Those with complete response may be kept on regular follow-up with endoscopies. Cancer treatment may be kept in reserve for later.
Radiotherapy for MALT lymphoma:
Radiation is the preferred treatment for MALT lymphoma when H pylori is absent, or when anti H pylori treatment fails. Relatively low doses of radiation are given, and these doses nearly always control the lymphoma. Radiotherapy treatment alone can cause complete response in more than 95% of the patients, and most patients remain controlled in the long term.
Surgery for MALT lymphoma of the stomach:
Surgery is an effective treatment of MALT lymphomas of the stomach and results in long term control in most patients. The potential morbidities of surgery are higher than those of radiation, and therefore surgery is less commonly used for treatment. Like radiotherapy, surgery is usually sufficient to control and cure MALT lymphomas that are limited to the stomach.
Chemotherapy for MALT lymphoma:
Chemotherapy is generally used for early stage gstric MALT lymphomas when local teatments fail to control disease or when the disease recurs. For advanced stage lesions chemotherapy is the treatment of choice. Different combination treatments are effective in these slow growing lymphomas.