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J Vet Intern Med. 2003 May-Jun;17(3):326-31.

Feline epitheliotropic intestinal malignant lymphoma: 10 cases (1997-2000).

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Department of Clinical Studies-Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


The clinical, histopathologic, and immunohistochemical features of 10 cats with epitheliotropic intestinal malignant lymphoma (EIL) are described. Intestinal biopsy samples were reviewed by 3 pathologists to confirm the diagnosis of EIL. These samples (n = 10) were compared to the intestinal biopsies of normal cats (n = 11), cats with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; n = 7), and cats with non-EIL (n = 9) for quantification and immunophenotyping of intraepithelial lymphocytes. Immunophenotypic studies were performed with CD3 and CD79a antibody stains to assess for T- and B-cell immunoreactivity, respectively. EIL biopsies had markedly more intraepithelial lymphocytes than normal intestine (NRL) and samples from cats with IBD. However, no marked difference was observed in the number of intraepithelial lymphocytes in cats with non-EIL compared to cats with EIL. Regardless of the histologic diagnosis, the intraepithelial lymphocytes in all cats were small- to intermediate-sized T cells. Clinical findings and imaging studies in the cats identified minimal or nonspecific findings in affected cats. Most cats fit the typical profile of cats with IBD or alimentary malignant lymphoma. Nine of 10 cats with EIL were treated with prednisone with or without additional chemotherapy. Four cats were refractory to chemotherapy and were euthanized within 3.5 months. The remaining 5 cats had long-term survival times of 11 months or greater. The median survival time was 11 months. Additional studies are warranted to better characterize EIL and its relationship to IBD in cats and non-EIL and to identify optimal treatment strategies for this disease.

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