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Am J Surg Pathol. 1992 Mar;16(3):300-5.

Mediastinal lymphoblastic lymphoma with an immature B-cell immunophenotype.

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  • 1Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


A 19-year-old woman presented with a large mediastinal mass, histologically shown to be malignant lymphoma of lymphoblastic type (LBL). Immunophenotypic and gene rearrangement analysis unequivocally demonstrated that the neoplasm was of B-cell lineage. The neoplastic cells expressed terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase, the pan-B cell antigens CD19, CD20, and CD22, and were negative for immunoglobulins and numerous T-cell antigens tested. Southern blot analysis showed rearrangement of one allele of the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene while the immunoglobulin kappa and T-cell receptor beta chain genes were in the germline configuration. Thus, the immunophenotypic and molecular findings in this case correspond to an early stage of B-cell differentiation, the pre-pre B-cell stage as has been named by others. In contrast with LBL of immature T-cell lineage, precursor B-cell LBLs involving the mediastinum are truly rare. Occasional cases have been reported that have arisen elsewhere and subsequently involved the mediastinum at time of relapse or tumor progression. Well-documented examples of immature B-cell LBL arising in the mediastinum are virtually unreported. The site and cell population giving rise to this neoplasm is unknown. However, origin from precursors of normal thymic medullary B cells is proposed as one possibility.

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