Peripheral T-cell Lymphomas With a Follicular Growth Pattern are Derived From Follicular Helper T Cells (TFH) and may Show Overlapping Features With Angioimmunoblastic T-cell Lymphomas

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Rare cases of peripheral T-cell lymphomas with follicular growth pattern (PTCL-F) have been recently reported, and their association with t(5;9)(q33;q22) involving ITK and SYK has been suggested. However, the clinicopathologic aspects of PTCL-F are poorly described and the normal cell counterpart of this subgroup of lymphoma is still unknown. Therefore, we analyzed the pathologic, phenotypic, and cytogenetic features of a series of 30 patients (range: 33 to 88 y) that showed histopathologic features of PTCL-F in at least 1 biopsy (n=30), either at initial presentation (n=26) or at relapse (n=4). Neoplastic cells were medium-sized clear cells that were CD4+ (24/27, 89%), CD10+ (21/29, 72%), BCL-6+ (14/19, 74%), and expressed programed death-1 (27/27, 100%), CXCL13 (23/27, 85%), and ICOS (11/11, 100%), markers of follicular helper T cells (TFH). Four of 22 patients (18%) had t(5;9)(q33;q22) detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Patients with clinical data available had multiple lymphadenopathies (25/28, 89%), stage III to IV diseases (17/26, 65%), B symptoms (7/27, 26%), and skin lesions (6/23, 26%). Three patients with sequential biopsies disclosed clinical and histopathologic features of angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma at initial presentation. Our results show that this rare form of PTCL-F (1) has an immunophenotype indicative of derivation from TFH cells, (2) is associated with t(5;9) in a proportion of cases, and (3) shows some overlapping features with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, raising the question of a possible relationship.

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