Histiocyte-Rich B-Cell Lymphoma: A Distinct Clinicopathologic Entity Possibly Related to Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin's Disease, Paragranuloma Subtype

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This study reports six non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cases that we called histiocyte-rich B-cell lymphoma (BCL) because of the prominent reactive histiocytic infiltrate obscuring the malignant B-cell population. The involved lymph nodes are characterized by a mixed nodular and diffuse infiltrate and occasionally feature prominent sinuses. The infiltrate is composed of reactive lymphocytes and numerous histiocytes obscuring a tumor population composed of variably sized scattered cells with irregular or multilobar vesicular nuclei. Immunostaining of paraffin sections for the B-cell marker recognized by L26 helps in the identification of these neoplastic cells. The clonal nature and further evidence of the B-cell lineage of this condition is shown by immunoglobulin gene rearrangements detected in three cases. The six cases of histiocyte-rich BCL are remarkably similar clinically: all presented with stage IVB disease with splenomegaly and follow an aggressive clinical course. Except for these features, our series show striking similarities to paragranuloma lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin's disease, including male preponderance (all patients are male), age distribution (mean age, 41 years), propensity to progress to a diffuse, large B-cell lymphoma (two cases), as well as morphology of the neoplastic B-cell population and expression of Hodgkin's cell markers (Leu-M1 positivity after neuraminidase digestion in three cases, Leu-M1 positivity without neuraminidase digestion in one case, and additional epithelial membrane antigen [EMA] positivity in two cases). Both morphologically and clinically, the present series can be differentiated from other types of infiltrate-rich BCL, such as T-cell-rich BCL. Although additional cases will have to be recognized, histiocyte-rich B-cell lymphoma most likely represents a distinct clinicopathological entity. We speculate that it develops from a subset of B cells that also gives rise to the lymphocytic-histocytic (L/H) cell, the Hodgkin's cell variant of lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin's disease, paragranuloma subtype.

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