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Int J Surg Pathol. 2004 Oct;12(4):375-87.

Nasal NK/T cell lymphoma in Taiwan: a clinicopathologic study of 22 cases, with analysis of histologic subtypes, Epstein-Barr virus LMP-1 gene association, and treatment modalities.

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Department of Pathology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University School of Medicine, Kwei San, Tao Yuan, Taiwan.


Nasal NK/T cell lymphoma is a distinctive type of extranodal lymphoma with an unique immunophenotype and a strong association with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It is one of the common extranodal lymphomas in Taiwan. We studied 22 cases of nasal NK/T cell lymphoma to characterize their clinicopathologic features and to explore the possible differences between histologic subtypes and their clinical behavior as well as the prevalence of 30-base pair (bp) deleted latent membrane protein-1 (LMP-1) gene of the EBV. They consisted of 5 cases of small cell type (SC), 6 cases of medium-sized cell type (MC), 6 cases of large cell type (LC), and 5 cases of pleomorphic cell type (PC). Twelve patients were men and 10 were women (1.2 to 1), and their ages ranged from 34 to 75 years with a median age of 55.5 years. The median ages of the LC type and PC type were older than the other 2 types. No other clinical features differed significantly among the 4 subtypes. Nasal obstruction was the most common initial presenting symptom. All but 1 case had stage IE disease at the time of diagnosis. Five cases developed extranasal involvement and skin was the most common site. No bone marrow involvement was detected. The majority of patients received local radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Local irradiation was more effective than chemotherapy alone. We achieved an overall survival of 63.6% at 5 years as estimated by the Kaplan-Meier analysis, which was better than other series. All cases displayed an immunophenotypic profile of CD3(epsilon)+, CD20-, CD56+, and TIA-1+ except that 1 case was CD3(epsilon)-. Fourteen of 22 cases (64%) expressed LMP-1. Nine cases of various cell types (41%) were also CD30+. Among the 4 histologic subtypes, the SC type differed from the other types by the absence of angiodestruction and necrosis, although angioinvasive growth was seen in 2 of them. Pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia was seen in only 3 cases of the SC type, and all 5 cases of the SC type were CD30-. No statistical difference in survival was found among the 4 histologic subtypes or between CD30+ and CD30- cases. All 22 cases were positive for EBV by polymerase chain reaction and Epstein-Barr virus early RNA (EBER) in-situ hybridization. A high prevalence rate of 86% (19/22) of the 30-base pair (bp) deleted LMP-1 gene was found, but 81.5% (22/27) of the EBV-positive control reactive lymphoid tissues also had the 30-bp deleted LMP-1 gene. Therefore, the high prevalence of the 30-bp deleted LMP-1 gene found in NK/T cell lymphoma could be due to the high prevalence of the deleted variant in this geographic region. However, it remains possible that the high prevalence of the deleted LMP-1 gene contributed to the increased incidence of EBV-associated nasal NK/T cell lymphoma in Taiwan.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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