Extranodal NK/T Cell Lymphoma, Nasal Type (ENKTL-NT): An Update on Epidemiology, Clinical Presentation, and Natural History in North American and European Cases

Bradley M. Haverkos, Zenggang Pan, Alejandro A. Gru, Aharon G. Freud, Rachel Rabinovitch, Meng Xu-Welliver, Brad Otto, Carlos Edmundo Barrionuevo Cornejo, Robert A. Baiocchi, Rosemary Rochford, Pierluigi Porcu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma, nasal type (ENKTL-NT) is an aggressive extranodal non-Hodgkin lymphoma most commonly occurring in East Asia and Latin America but with increasing incidence in the United States. Data on epidemiology, disease presentation, and outcome for European and North American (“Western”) cases are very limited. We review published landmark clinical studies on ENKTL-NT in the West and report in detail recent data, including our institutional experience. Recent Findings: We highlight key observations in its epidemiology, natural history, and trends in clinical management. In the USA, ENKTL-NT is more common among Asian Pacific Islanders (API) and Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic whites. Published studies indicate less heterogeneity in clinical presentation in Western ENKTL-NT compared to Asian patients. While there is variation in age at diagnosis, presence of antecedent lymphoproliferative disorders, and outcomes among racial/ethnic groups, the universal association of ENKTL-NT with EBV and the poor response of this neoplasm to anthracycline-based therapy is consistent across all geographic areas. Summary: Data on epidemiology, disease presentation, and clinical outcomes in mature T cell and NK cell (T/NK cell) neoplasms, including ENKTL-NT, in Europe and North America are very limited. As the classification and diagnostic characterization of the currently recognized T/NK cell lymphoma disease entities continue to evolve, gaps and inconsistencies in data reporting across different studies are being recognized. Despite these limitations, several studies from the USA suggest that the incidence of ENKTL-NT is higher in Asian Pacific Islanders (API) and non-white Hispanics and that outcomes may be worse in non-whites. However, the universal association of ENKTL-NT with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) across all ethnic groups suggests a common pathogenesis. Given the overlap between the entities included in the category of T/NK cell neoplasms, there is a need to further define biological and clinical differences that may affect diagnosis, treatment, and outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-527
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Hematologic Malignancy Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Epstein–Barr virus
  • Europe
  • Extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma
  • United Kingdom
  • United States


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