The Diagnosis, Classification and Clinical Care of PTCL


Knowledge of cutting-edge research is vital to the practicing pathologist’s ability to improve patient outcomes. To help pathologists stay up-to-date on the latest discoveries, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) has developed an innovative education curriculum to address educational gaps in the diagnosis, classification and management of peripheral T‐cell Lymphoma (PTCL), a type of cancer that presents a particular clinical challenge. The curriculum is titled The Diagnosis, Classification and Clinical Care of Peripheral T‐cell Lymphoma (DC3‐PTCL). This resource is part of ASCP’s effort to equip pathologists and laboratory professionals with opportunities to learn and grow so they can more effectively diagnose and treat patients.

Why Peripheral T-cell Lymphoma?

Approximately 15 percent of all non‐Hodgkin lymphomas in the United States are peripheral T‐cell lymphomas,1 and within this group there are at least 20 identifiable subtypes.2,3 In 2008, the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) classification of hematopoietic malignancies further divided this group of disorders into those that predominately present as leukemic (disseminated), nodal, extranodal or cutaneous and added nine new classifications since the prior version.4 In the WHO classification, neoplasms derived from natural killer (NK) cells are considered to be part of the same group as T-cell neoplasms, as NK cells are closely related to T-cells.

Diagnosis and management of T-cell and NK-cell lineage malignant lymphomas, in particular peripheral T-cell lymphomas, remains a major clinical challenge. The challenge is partly due to biological diversity of such neoplasms and partly due to a lack of systematic information regarding diagnosis and management of these disorders. New educational efforts are needed not only to deliver practical content to help with routine diagnosis and management of peripheral TCLs but also to introduce new biological findings and targeted therapies into clinical practice. The goal of The Diagnosis, Classification and Clinical Care of Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma (DC3-PTCL) curriculum is to address emerging gaps in the diagnosis, classification, and management of PTCLs by providing this necessary education.

Funded by an independent education grant from Seattle Genetics

Emerging gaps relating to peripheral T-cell Lymphoma

Gap 1–Diagnosis: An insufficient range of testing and the multifactorial complexity of specimen/patient assessment have contributed to high inaccuracies in the diagnosis of PTCL.

Gap 2–Classification: Data show a significant gap between actual and optimal PTCL classification rates, which may impact appropriate treatment selection.

Gap 3–Clinical Care: There are inadequacies in the exchange of information and specimens between pathologists and other disciplines, and this exchange is essential for accurate PTCL diagnosis, classification and treatment selection. In addition, selection of appropriate therapies remains a major challenge for all clinicians involved.