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Am J Pathol. 1996 Aug;149(2):699-705.

Expression of perforin in nasal lymphoma. Additional evidence of its natural killer cell derivation.

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  • 1First Department of Pathology, Nagoya University School of Medicine, Japan.


Eight patients with nasal lymphoma in whom fresh-frozen tissues were available were studied to elucidate the nature of the lymphoma cells. Two cases were diagnosed as diffuse, large cell lymphoma, and the remaining six cases as diffuse, mixed cell types. Immunohistochemical studies revealed that all of the cases were positive for perforin, which is a specific marker for cytotoxic T or natural killer (NK) cells. As all of the cases were CD8 negative, the perforin-positive finding further confirmed the concept that nasal lymphoma is a distinct neoplastic entity derived from NK or NK-related cells. Light microscopic immunohistochemical studies revealed that these nasal lymphoma cases could be classified into Leu19(CD56)+Leu4(CD3)+ (two cases) and Leu19(CD56)+Leu4(CD3)- (six cases) types according to the phenotypes of the proliferating cells. However, simultaneous staining for perforin and Leu4 (CD3) using immunoelectron microscopy on the Leu19+Leu4+ cases showed that the perforin-positive cells were different from the Leu4-positive cells. This finding suggests that the Leu4-positive cells are not neoplastic NK cells but reactive T cells. Six cases were positive for EBER-1 by in situ hybridization analysis. This finding reconfirms the previous studies that Epstein-Barr virus plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of nasal lymphoma.

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