We reviewed 173 patients with an initial diagnosis of peripheral T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (PTCL) and compared the patients with bone marrow involvement (BMI) to those without to have a better understanding of the clinical characteristics, treatments, survival and prognosis of PTCLs with BMI. We found that 40% (70/173) of the patients had BMI, and its frequency was 64% in angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (TCL), 46% in PTCL unspecified, 29% in anaplastic large T-cell lymphoma, 23% in extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma and 13% in enteropathy-type TCL. In the BMI group, 36% of patients had lymphoma-associated hemophagocytic syndrome (LAHS), compared with 8% of the patients without BMI (8/103, P < 0.001). The estimated 1-year overall survival (OS) rates of patients with LAHS in the BMI and non-BMI groups were 5 and 49%, respectively. The increased levels of lactate dehydrogenase, fasting triglycerides and β2-microglobulin between the BMI and non-BMI groups were not significantly different, but ferritin increased significantly and liver dysfunction-related diseases were seen more in the BMI group. As much as 51% of patients of the BMI group had anemia, compared with 27% of the patients without BMI (P = 0.001). The estimated 2-year OS rates in the two groups were 10 and 34%. The estimated 2-year OS rate of the 67 patients with BMI, who did not lose to follow-up, was 22%, compared with 38% in the non-BMI group. The median survival times of the 2 groups were 120 and 356 days. The estimated 2-year OS rate of patients treated by CHOP regimen was 9%, compared with 51% of those with intensive chemotherapy, with a significant difference (log rank P = 0.0008). The median survival time of the 14 patients subjected to chemotherapy combined with l-asparaginase was 365 days and that of the 7 patients undergoing hemopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) was 575 days. A total of 3 patients in a critical condition underwent plasmapheresis as initial therapy and achieved stable condition. We conclude that patients with PTCLs with BMI on initial diagnosis usually have hemaphagocytic syndrome and poor prognosis. BMI without lymphadenopathy is a patent clinical feature in most PTCLs. Patients with anemia on initial diagnosis in the BMI group usually have poor prognosis than those without. Intense chemotherapy, addition of l-asparaginase in chemotherapy and HSCT are comparatively efficient treatments of PTCLs. For patients in critical conditions, plasmapheresis before chemotherapy would lower the risk and improve the tolerance to chemotherapy.