Researchers from Japan have reported that infection with a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori was present in 72% of patients with MALT lymphoma of the stomach. Antibiotic therapy effectively treated MALT lymphoma of the stomach in a majority of patients infected with Helicobacter pylori. Among patients who were negative for Helicobacter pylori or resistant to antibiotics, treatment with radiation therapy produced good local control of MALT lymphoma of the stomach. These results were published in the journal Helicobacter.
Researchers have long known that a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, is associated with a certain type of low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma referred to as mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma.
MALT lymphoma develops outside of lymph nodes, most commonly in the stomach, salivary glands, lungs, or thyroid. Treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection with antibiotics results in complete disappearance of lymphoma in some patients with early-stage MALT lymphoma of the stomach.
To further evaluate different treatment approaches for MALT lymphoma of the stomach, researchers in Japan conducted a study among 57 patients with the disease. They observed the following:
- Helicobacter pylori was identified in 41 of the 57 patients (72%). The researchers did not find clinical differences between patients with and without Helicobacter pylori infection.
- Among patients with Helicobacter pylori infection, 74% responded to treatment with antibiotics.
- Among patients without Helicobacter pylori infection, one out of nine (11%) responded to treatment with antibiotics.
- Radiation therapy was administered to 14 patients with antibiotic-resistant or Helicobacter pylori-negative MALT lymphoma. Local control of lymphoma was achieved in 93% of these patients, but three had a distant recurrence of lymphoma.
- Two patients with Helicobacter pylori-negative MALT lymphoma of the stomach died of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
The researchers concluded that radiation therapy was effective local therapy for Helicobacter pylori-negative or antibiotic-resistant MALT lymphoma of the stomach, but that some patients have distant recurrences and progression to aggressive lymphoma.
Reference: Akamatsu T, Mochizuki T, Okiyama Y et al. Comparison of Localized Gastric Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT) Lymphoma With and Without Helicobacter pylori Infection. Helicobacter. 2006; 11:86-95.