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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 26, Issue 7, Pages 452-456
Original Article

Increasing Incidence Rates, Distribution and Histological Characteristics of Primary Gastrointestinal Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in a North American Population

JM Howell,1 I Auer-Grzesiak,1 J Zhang,2 CN Andrews,3 D Stewart,4 and SJ Urbanski1

1Department of Anatomical Pathology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2Nephrology Research Group, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
3Division of Gastroenterology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
4Divisions of Hematology and Medical Oncology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Received 16 February 2011; Accepted 18 September 2011

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: The incidence of primary extranodal non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract has been on the rise.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the incidence of primary GI NHL and distribution according to site and histological type in a large North American adult population over a 10-year period.

METHODS: All diagnoses of GI NHL made between January 1999 and January 2009 were reviewed using a regional pathology database. Patients ≥18 years of age living within health region boundaries were included. Age- and sex-adjusted incidence rates of GI NHL according to GI site and histological type over a 10-year period were calculated and compared.

RESULTS: A total of 149 cases of primary GI NHL were identified during the study period. Age- and sex-adjusted yearly incidence rates ranged from 0.13 per 100,000 in 1999, to 2.39 per 100,000 in 2007. Histological distribution (47% diffuse large B cell lymphoma, 24% extranodal marginal zone lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue type, 8% follicular and 5% mantle cell) and site distribution (47% stomach, 26% small bowel, 17% colon) were obtained with increasing annualized incidence rates for each of these sites over time. Remaining cases included multiple GI sites of involvement (9%) and esophagus (0.7%).

DISCUSSION: Population-based GI NHL incidence rates in the present study were higher than those described elsewhere in North America and Europe. Nearly one-half showed high-grade (diffuse large B cell lymphoma) histology at diagnosis. Incidence rates for the colon exceed those described in other studies worldwide.

CONCLUSION: Because the majority of GI NHL are diagnosed on endoscopic biopsy, clinicians and pathologists must be vigilant of this entity.