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New insights into the immunology and genetics of malignant lymphomas have allowed the recognition of new entities and the refinement of previously recognized disease categories. The relative incidence of these subtypes of malignant lymphoma is also known to differ according to geographic location. In order to clarify the current status of malignant lymphomas in Japan and the relative incidences of their subtypes, 3194 patients were classified according to the new World Health Organization (WHO) classification. Among these were 3025 cases (94.71%) of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (2189 cases (68.53%) of B-cell lymphoma, 796 cases (24.92%) of T-cell lymphoma) and 141 cases (4.41%) of Hodgkin's lymphoma. The incidences of the major subtypes of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were 33.34% for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, 8.45% for marginal zone B-cell lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) type, 8.05% for plasma cell myeloma, 7.45% for adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), 6.7% for follicular lymphoma, 6.67% for peripheral T-cell lymphoma of unspecified type, 2.79% for mantle cell lymphoma, 2.6% for nasal and nasal-type T/NK cell lymphoma, 2.35% for angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, and 2.35% for precursor B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma, in decreasing order. The other subtypes comprised less than 2%, mainly precursor T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma/leukemia (1.72%), anaplastic large-cell lymphoma of T- and null-cell types (1.53%), and B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (1.31%). The incidence of ATLL was influenced by its high percentage (19.20%) in the south-western Japanese island, Kyushu, an endemic area of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), but which appeared to be lower than that in a previous study. The nodular sclerosis and mixed cellularity types of Hodgkin's disease occupied 1.78% and 1.63%, respectively. These data are distinct from those in Western countries and similar in several ways to those in the East, although the relatively high rate of ATLL was attributed to the geographical difference in the etiologic factor, HTLV-1.