Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma

Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma (CBCL) is a type of lymphoma derived from cancerous B-cells. The lymph system is an interconnected network of thin tubes and nodes that carries white blood cells which are the cells that are part of our body’s immune system and fights against infections. B- cells are a special kind of white blood cells important for the immune system. Lymphoma refers to a cancer in the lymph system. Typically lymphoma begins in the cells within the lymphatic system (lymph nodes etc), however sometimes it can arise from cells outside the lymph system and is called extranodal ("outside of the node") lymphoma. When extranodal lymphoma occurs in skin caused by cancerous B-cells, it is called cutaneous B-cell lymphoma. CBCL accounts for about 25% of all cutaneous lymphomas.

There are many types of cutaneous B-cell lymphomas, and tumors may appear at any part of the body, most commonly at the neck, head, or trunk of body. Symptoms include reddish rashes and lumps on the skin with a slight raised but smooth appearance. Diagnosis is made using a skin biopsy. The cancer is almost always slow-growing (non-aggressive) and patients with CBCL usually have a good prognosis or outlook with treatment. In fact, correct diagnosis is important to avoid overtreatment. CBCL returns (recurs) about 50% of the time. Only rarely do these types of lymphoma become systemic (occurring throughout the body). Treatment for CBCL varies by individual, but most often includes radiotherapy or surgery. Steroid injections and topical treatments may be used for any relapses. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with this CBCL, talk to your doctor or oncologist about the most current treatment options. See also B-cell lymphoma.

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