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Virchows Arch. 2005 Jan;446(1):15-20. Epub 2004 Oct 5.

In angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, neoplastic T cells may be a minor cell population. A molecular single-cell and immunohistochemical study.

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Senckenbergisches Institut für Pathologie, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Theodor Stern Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


The significance of T-cell proliferations in angioimmunoblastic lymphoma (AILD) is still enigmatic. Although classified as a malignant T-cell lymphoma in the World Health Organisation lymphoma classification, some cases of AILD lack dominant T-cell clones. In a previous study, based on single-cell polymerase chain reaction (PCR), we obtained similar results as studies of AILD using Southern blot or conventional PCR: some cases of AILD contained large T-cell clones, and, in other cases, T-cell clones were undetectable. As in single-cell studies, only a limited number of cells could be investigated; thus, we wanted to gain more insight into the amount and distribution of tumour cells. By applying triple immunofluorescent staining with antibodies directed against T-cell receptor Vbeta-family-specific epitopes, we investigated T-cell populations in AILD and their localisation in the tissue in relation to B cells (CD20) and follicular dendritic cells (CD21). In two of five cases investigated, only a minority of the T-cells compartment belonged to the tumour clone. Neoplastic T cells were found throughout the tissue, including areas dominated by B cells.

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