Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a rare non-Hodgkin's lymphoma entity with a heterogeneous clinical presentation. Various therapeutic considerations in MCL for younger and elderly patients were used over the past decade. We retrospectively analyzed all 44 patients consecutively treated in a tertiary hospital between 2000 and 2010 with newly diagnosed MCL. Patient characteristics, treatment regimens and biological markers were evaluated with regard to overall survival (OS). Treatment regimens were categorized into internationally accepted intensive standard therapies and less intensive alternative treatment regimens given with palliative intent. Biological markers were correlated with clinical outcome by univariate analysis. The median age of the entire study group was 66 years (range: 42-88), with 23 (52%) patients ≥65 years. Thirty-one (70%) patients received standard regimens, the remaining 13 (30%) patients were treated with other, less intensive regimens with palliative intent. With a median follow-up of 5.25 years, the three-year OS rate was 60% [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.47-0.77]. Patients treated with standard regimens had a three-year survival rate of 77% (range: 64-94%). Of these, patients younger than 65 years were observed to have better OS (83% at 3 years; 95% CI 68-100%) than those older than 65 years (69% at 3 years; 95% CI 48-99%). In univariate analysis, the only parameters with a statistically significant prognostic impact on OS were absolute monocyte count as a continuous variable, lactate dehydrogenase and absolute lymphocyte count (>0.5 × 10(9) /l) at diagnosis. In conclusion, our data of an unselected group of patients with newly diagnosed MCL treated at a single centre tertiary hospital are in line with results from larger randomized trials demonstrating an improved OS rate of younger as well as elderly MCL patients within the last decade.