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Histopathology. 2004 Dec;45(6):619-24.

CD23 expression in mediastinal large B-cell lymphomas.

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  • 1Department of Histopathology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK. m.calaminici@qmul.ac.uk



Mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (MLBCL) is a subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in the WHO classification with peculiar features, such as female prevalence, young patient age and bulky presentation. It shows a B-cell phenotype with variable expression of surface immunoglobulin, negative CD21 and CD10 and positive CD30 in a large number of cases. An origin from activated thymic B cells has been suggested in several studies. A subpopulation of large, dendritic cells (asteroid cells) strongly expressing CD23 has been identified amongst thymic B cells and these could represent the normal cellular counterpart for this type of primary mediastinal large cell lymphoma.


To explore this possibility, we immunostained 24 cases of primary mediastinal lymphomas and 100 cases of non-mediastinal, nodal and extranodal, DLBCLs for CD23 in routinely processed paraffin-embedded tissues.


Our results show that a vast majority (70%) of mediastinal lymphomas strongly express CD23 whilst the same antigen is expressed in only 15% of non-mediastinal nodal DLBCLs and 9% of non-mediastinal extranodal DLBCLs. These results support the hypothesis that most cases of MLBCL arise from activated dendritic thymic B cells. We also suggest that CD23 should be included in the panel of antibodies currently used to characterize this subtype of DLBCL.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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