The Food and Drug Administration sent a letter late Wednesday to family doctors, nurses and other health professionals warning about the form of lymphoma in breast implant patients. The disease is not breast cancer, but usually forms in the scar tissue that forms around implants. Regulators said they have identified 450 likely cases of the cancer since 2010. Nine women have now died in the U.S. from a total of 16 worldwide. The majority of ALCL cases have been linked to textured breast implants as opposed to smooth implants. The textured implants have become increasingly popular because women don’t have to worry about getting the implant re-positioned.
The report comes just over a month before the FDA is set to officially review the safety of silicone breast implants in a committee hearing. Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma involving aberrant T cells or null lymphocytes. The diagnosis of ALCL requires the examination by a pathologist. Chemotherapy is the recommended initial treatment. A 5-year survival rate is expected.