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Haematologica. 2007 Jan;92(1):e1-2.

Re-occurrence of the CD20 molecule expression subsequent to CD20-negative relapse in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Medical Oncology Unit, Dept. of Oncology, San Raffaele H Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.


We report the first case of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of the stomach displaying CD20-negative relapse after rituximab-containing treatment and the re-appearance of CD20 expression at the second failure. The loss of CD20 expression in B-cell lymphomas relapsing after rituximab is a well-known phenomenon, but its actual impact in DLBCL is difficult to estimate. This paradigmatic case suggests that CD20-expression reappearance after purging of CD20-positive clones with rituximab might be an underestimated occurrence in B-cell lymphomas. Accordingly, every relapse, whenever possible, should be histologically assessed with diagnostic and immunophenotyping purposes.

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