Splenic Marginal-zone Lymphoma: One or More Entities? A Histologic, Immunohistochemical, and Molecular Study of 42 Cases

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We analyzed 42 splenic marginal-zone lymphoma (SMZL) cases diagnosed on splenectomy specimens after established World Health Organization criteria. A predominantly nodular growth pattern was observed in 24 cases; the remainder showed predominantly (11/42) or exclusively (7/42) diffuse infiltration. Twenty-one cases showed the “classic” biphasic appearance; 13 cases exhibited marginal-zone morphology; finally, 8 cases were composed predominantly of small cells. CD21 and CD35 were expressed by 12/42 and 17/38 cases, respectively. DBA.44 was detected in 24/42 cases. Seventeen of 37 cases were surface IgD (SIgD)-positive. Twenty-one of 22 analyzed cases were SIgM-positive (12/21 coexpressed SIgD). Five of 37 cases were SIgG-positive. CD27 staining was observed in 21/35 cases; 7/18 CD27-positive cases coexpressed SIgD; 7/14 CD27-negative cases were SIgD-positive. Forty IGHV-D-J rearrangements were amplified in 34/42 cases: the IGHV4-34 gene predominated, followed by IGHV1-2. Using the 98% homology cut-off, 25/40 (62.5%) IGHV sequences were considered as “mutated”: 10/11 cases with monomorphous, marginal-zone morphology were IGHV-mutated; in contrast, 4/6 cases with monomorphous, small-cell morphology were IGHV-unmutated. Five of 7 cases expressing IGHV1 subgroup genes had biphasic morphology, whereas 6/9 IGHV3-expressing cases had monomorphous, marginal-zone morphology. Most IGHV-mutated cases (14/20; 70%) were SIgD-negative; in contrast, 8/11 IGHV-unmutated cases expressed SIgD. CD27 was detected in 10/17 IGHV-mutated and 6/10 IGHV-unmutated cases. Seven of 11 CD27-negative cases were IGHV-mutated; 5/7 CD27-negative/IGHV-mutated cases expressed DBA.44. These results confirm the considerable histologic, immunohistochemical, and molecular heterogeneity of SMZL and indicate an origin from the diverse resident B-cell populations of the normal SMZ.

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