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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1998 Nov;122(11):1018-22.

Leukemic phase of mantle cell lymphoma presenting as anemia: diagnosis by combining flow cytometry and cytomorphology.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, St Louis (MO) University Health Sciences Center, 63104, USA.


We report a case of mantle cell lymphoma in leukemic phase, which was diagnosed by a bone marrow biopsy performed as part of a workup for chronic anemia in a patient without lymphadenopathy. The patient, a 79-year-old man with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic renal failure, congestive heart failure, and atherosclerosis, presented with claudication. On admission, he also had an 8-month history of anemia, during which time he experienced a 18-kg weight loss. On presentation, the patient had normal vital signs, anemia, leukocytosis (as well as an absolute lymphocytosis), and splenomegaly; as mentioned, lymphadenopathy was absent. A bone marrow biopsy showed an increase in small to intermediate-sized, slightly irregular lymphocytes in interstitial nodules. Flow cytometric immunophenotyping of the bone marrow identified a monoclonal population of cells, representing 25% of cells within the bone marrow, with expression of CD19, CD20, immunoglobulin M/D, lambda light chain, HLA-DR, and CD5; reactions for CD10 and CD23 were absent. Based on morphologic and immunophenotypic analysis of the bone marrow, as well as morphologic review of the peripheral blood smear, a diagnosis of mantle cell lymphoma involving the bone marrow and in leukemic phase was made. Subsequent polymerase chain reaction analysis of DNA from peripheral blood identified a population of cells with the bcl-1 rearrangement. This case is unique in that the diagnosis of mantle cell lymphoma was made without lymph node or spleen analysis and the patient, although exhibiting bone marrow and peripheral blood involvement by mantle cell lymphoma at presentation, did not have lymphadenopathy.

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