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Am J Hematol. 2001 Jul;67(3):172-8.

Systemic anaplastic large-cell lymphoma: results from the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma classification project.

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Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska 68198-3135, USA.


Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a heterogeneous process that may have a T-cell, B-cell, or indeterminant (null) phenotype and which may or may not express the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) oncoprotein. Because the clinical significance of these variants of ALCL is unclear, we evaluated the cases of ALCL-T/null and ALCL-B identified in the Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Classification Project. We evaluated 1,378 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), and a consensus diagnosis of ALCL-T/null was made in 33 patients (2.4%) with a diagnostic accuracy of 85%. Compared to 96 patients with other forms of peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL), those with ALCL-T/null were significantly younger, less likely to have advanced-stage disease or bone marrow involvement, more likely to have a low International Prognostic Index score, and had a significantly better survival. Among those with ALCL-T/null, there were no significant differences in the clinical features or survival on the basis of ALK expression. A consensus diagnosis of ALCL-B was made in 15 patients (1.1%), and the diagnostic accuracy was 67%. However, compared to 366 patients with other forms of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), those with ALCL-B were no different with regard to clinical features or survival. We conclude that patients with ALCL-T/null have favorable prognostic features and excellent survival and should be separated from those with other forms of PTCL for prognostic and therapeutic purposes. In contrast, patients with ALCL-B appear to be similar to those with other forms of DLBCL.

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