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Blood. 2008 Jun 15;111(12):5433-9. doi: 10.1182/blood-2007-11-124792. Epub 2008 Feb 13.

Clonally related follicular lymphomas and histiocytic/dendritic cell sarcomas: evidence for transdifferentiation of the follicular lymphoma clone.

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  • 1Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892-1500, USA.


Rare cases of histiocytic and dendritic cell (H/DC) neoplasms have been reported in patients with follicular lymphoma (FL), but the biologic relationship between the 2 neoplasms is unknown. We studied 8 patients with both FL and H/DC neoplasms using immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for t(14;18), and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)/sequencing of BCL2 and IGH rearrangements. There were 5 men and 3 women (median age, 59 years). All cases of FL were positive for t(14;18). The H/DC tumors included 7 histiocytic sarcomas, 5 of which showed evidence of dendritic differentiation, and 1 interdigitating cell sarcoma. Five H/DC tumors were metachronous, following FL by 2 months to 12 years; tumors were synchronous in 3. All 8 H/DC tumors showed presence of the t(14;18) either by FISH, or in 2 cases by PCR with the major breakpoint region (MBR) probe. PCR and sequencing identified identical IGH gene rearrangements or BCL2 gene breakpoints in all patients tested. All H/DC tumors lacked PAX5, and up-regulation of CEBPbeta and PU.1 was seen in all cases tested. These results provide evidence for a common clonal origin of FL and H/DC neoplasms when occurring in the same patient, and suggest that lineage plasticity may occur in mature lymphoid neoplasms.

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