Is mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma an infectious disease? Role of Helicobacter pylori and eradication antibiotic therapy (Review)


Exp Ther Med. 2020 Oct;20(4):3546-3553. doi: 10.3892/etm.2020.9031. Epub 2020 Jul 23.


Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma (MALT) is seldom considered a diagnosis hypothesis in symptomatic patients. These lymphomas present as a main risk factor for chronic gastritis due to Helicobacter pylori infection. H. pylori leads to chronic inflammation, producing lymphoid tissue in the stomach mucosa (MALT) possibly leading to malignant transformation. Even though H. pylori remains one of the most important factors in the development of MALT lymphoma, it is not mandatory in the evolution of MALT lymphoma since high-grade lymphomas present a lower prevalence of H. pylori. The prevalence of H. pylori is indirectly proportional with the progression into the gastric wall. Mucosal and submucosal MALT lymphomas have a higher prevalence of the bacteria. However, genetic factors remain a risk factor especially if eradication treatment fails. Even though a low percentage of MALT lymphomas are H. pylori-negative, some respond to antibiotic eradication treatment. This can be explained either by the immunomodulatory effect of antibiotics or by other infectious sources such as Helicobacter heilmannii and Campylobacter jejuni (small bowel lymphoma). Treatment in MALT gastric lymphoma was a breakthrough since it was the first time in oncology where tumours were cured by antibiotic therapy, leading us to wonder if MALT lymphomas are infectious disease or not?