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Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

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Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma

Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) is an uncommon T-cell type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It accounts for only about 1–2% of all cases of NHL in North America. However, it is one of the more common subtypes of mature T-cell lymphomas. Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma used to be called angioimmunoblastic lymphadenopathy with dysproteinemia (AILD).

AITL is more common in elderly adults. It is slightly more common in males than in females. AITL has been linked to a variety of viral infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus.

AITL has certain unusual characteristics, including a greater number of small, abnormal blood vessels in the body parts that are affected by the disease. People with AITL often have:

  • generalized enlarged lymph nodes
  • B symptoms
  • itchy skin rash
  • joint pain
  • enlarged organs, such as the liver (hepatomegaly) and spleen (splenomegaly)
  • anemia
  • an overproduction of antibody proteins called immunoglobulins in the blood (hypergammaglobulinemia)

The bone marrow can also be affected. Infections are common with AITL because of underlying immune deficiency. Malignant pleural effusions (a buildup of fluid in the space between the outside covering of the lung and the inside lining of the chest wall) and ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdomen) can also occur with AITL.

AITL is usually a fast-growing (aggressive) lymphoma. People with AITL usually have advanced stage disease (stage III or stage IV) when they are diagnosed. The prognosis for people with AITL is often poor. Relapses are common with AITL.


There is no standard treatment for AITL. AITL may be treated initially with corticosteroids, such as prednisone (Deltasone) or dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexasone). However, it often progresses and needs chemotherapy.


Treatment for AITL usually includes a combination of chemotherapy drugs. Combinations of drugs used to treat AITL most often include anthracycline drugs like doxorubicin (Adriamycin). CHOP or CHOP-like combinations may be used.

  • CHOP – cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Procytox), doxorubicin, vincristine (Oncovin) and prednisone

Drugs that suppress the immune system, like methotrexate, cyclosporine (Neoral) or other drugs, may also be tried in certain people with AITL who cannot take other treatments.

Stem cell transplant

A stem cell transplant (SCT) may be an option for some people with AITL.

For more detailed information on specific drugs, go to sources of drug information.


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