Revising the historical collection of epithelioid cell-rich lymphomas of the Kiel Lymph Node Registry: what is Lennert's lymphoma nowadays?

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Lennert's lymphoma is a rare variant of peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) not otherwise specified (NOS). The aim of this study was to further characterize this tumour.

Methods and results:

Historical material of 97 lymphomas with a high content of epithelioid cells, collected at the Kiel Lymph Node Registry were reviewed, by applying immunohistochemistry and current diagnostic criteria. Among all cases revised, various B-cell lymphoma entities (25 cases), Hodgkin lymphomas (21 cases) and PTCL subtypes (48 cases) could be identified. A distinctive subgroup of eight PTCLs was found that were regarded as genuine Lennert's lymphomas. These cases were characterized by mild atypia, a non-activated cytotoxic phenotype [TIA1 cytotoxic granule-associated RNA binding protein (TIA1)-positive+ and granzyme B-negative], and a substantial lack of follicular T-helper (TFH) cell markers. Among the other PTCLs, including angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma and PTCL NOS, many cases with positivity for more than three TFH cell-associated molecules were recorded.


Our study shows that, according to current criteria, Lennert's lymphoma is a rare but distinctive entity among epithelioid cell-rich lymphomas, differing on grounds of morphology and immunophenotype from other PTCL subtypes. An additional finding is the broad morphological spectrum of epithelioid-cell rich PTCLs showing a TFH cell phenotype.

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