T-cell lymphoma is a group of heterogeneous diseases with various clinical behaviors and treatment outcomes, representing 10-15% of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Owing to its rarity and heterogeneity, the standard treatment approach for T-cell lymphoma is still not established. Accordingly, conventional chemotherapy regimens adapted from B-cell lymphoma treatment has been used for T-cell lymphoma. However, their outcome is still not satisfactory, and there are limited data representing the real-world situation in terms of clinical features and treatment outcomes. Given the incidence of T-cell lymphoma is relatively higher in Asian than Western countries; a comprehensive registry study focusing on Asian patients with T-cell lymphoma could be helpful for better understanding of T-cell lymphoma as well as the development of more effective treatment strategy.


We performed a multi-national, multi-center, prospective registry study for patients with T-cell lymphoma and enrolled patients between 01-March-2016 and 31-January-2019. All patients received chemotherapy with curative intent after diagnosis, and were pathologically diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma according to the 2008 World Health Organization classification of lymphoid neoplasms. Patients belonged to any one of following clinical situations could be enrolled: (1) newly diagnosed, treatment-naïve patients; (2) patients who started treatment or completed treatment; (3) relapsed or refractory patients. After we enrolled the planned number of patients (n = 500), we analyzed clinical features and treatment outcomes.


Out of 500 patients enrolled from nine Asian countries (Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Bangladeshi, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Philippines), 490 patients were analyzed because 10 patients with insufficient information were excluded. The median age was 59 years (range, 20-85), male patients (59%) were predominant compared to female patients (41%). Extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma (ENKTL) was the most common (28%) and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) was the second common (24%). Peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not-otherwise specified (PTCL-NOS, 20%) and ALK+/- anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL, 16%) were also major subtypes of T-cell lymphoma. The proportion of stage IV was 40%, however, the distribution of stage was different between ENKTL and nodal T-cell lymphomas such as PTCL-NOS. The CHOP (Cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone) or CHOP-like regimens accounted for the mainstay of primary treatment for nodal T-cell lymphoma whereas non-anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimens such as SMILE (steroid, methotrexate, ifosfamide, L-asparaginase, and etoposide) and GemOx-L (gemcitabine, oxaliplatin, and L-asparagainase) were mainly used for ENKTL. The overall survival of ENKTL was not significantly different from that of PTCL-NOS, AITL and ALK+/- ALCL.


Our study showed the distribution of T-cell lymphoma subtypes and tumor burdens at the time of diagnosis in Asian countries. Although clinical features of ENKTL are different from that of nodal T-cell lymphomas consisting of PTCL-NOS, AITL and ALK+/- ALCL, and the different types of treatment were used, survival outcome of patients were not significantly different. This finding might be associated with improved treatment outcomes of ENKTL compared to the past. However, considering a substantial number of patients experienced treatment failure in patients with PTCL-NOS as well as ENKTL, more effective treatment strategy should be warranted.


Kim:F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd: Research Funding; Celltrion: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Donga: Research Funding; Kyowa-Kirin: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; J + J: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.