Intravascular lymphoma: A neoplasm of 'homeless' lymphocytes?

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Intravascular lymphoma (IVL) is an extremely rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma characterized by almost exclusive growth of neoplastic lymphocytes within blood vessel lumen. IVL is morphologically characterized in most instances by large cells with B-cell lineage. IVL is an aggressive and usually disseminated disease that predominantly affects elderly patients, resulting in poor PS, B-symptoms, anemia, and high lactate dehydrogenase serum level. The brain and skin are the most commonly involved sites; nodal disease is rare. Survival after conventional chemotherapy is disappointing, with a relevant impact of diagnostic delay and lethal complications. Notwithstanding these results, IVL limited to the skin (cutaneous variant) is a favorable presentation with distinctive clinical characteristics. Moreover, differences in clinical presentation with Eastern Countries IVL cases, mostly associated with hemophagocytic syndrome, do exist. Intensive combinations containing drugs with higher central nervous system bioavailability are needed in cases with brain involvement; the role of high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell transplantation should be investigated in younger patients with unfavorable features. The present review will discuss the most recent acquisitions related either to diagnosis and immunophenotypic/biologic characteristics as well as clinical/therapeutic issues of IVL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalHematological Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • Angiotropic
  • Central nervous system
  • Intravascular
  • Lymphoma
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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