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Hum Pathol. 1991 Apr;22(4):339-48.

The role of the endoscopic biopsy in the diagnosis of gastric lymphoma: a morphologic and immunohistochemical reappraisal.

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Department of Pathology, Instituto Nacional de la Nutricion, Salvador Zubiran, Mexico City, Mexico.


Forty-three endoscopic biopsies from 29 patients with confirmed gastric lymphoma (GL) were analyzed retrospectively to establish the morphologic criteria of greatest diagnostic significance. An average of 10 tissue samples was obtained at each endoscopy. In 44% of the cases, lymphoma was discovered in only one or two of the tissue portions. Eighteen lymphomas were primary, six were probably primary, and five were generalized. The diagnosis of lymphoma was originally suspected or established in 46% of the biopsies. However, a review of the histologic sections indicated that the changes, either diagnostic of or compatible with lymphoma, were present in 75% and 18% of the sections, respectively. Most diagnostic errors consisted of confusion with diffuse lymphoid infiltrates in chronic gastritis and/or peptic ulcer, and less frequently with poorly differentiated carcinoma. In those cases confused with chronic gastritis or peptic ulcer, biopsies showed centrocyte-like cells of the standard type or small lymphocytes which produced: (1) a marked increase in density of the lymphoid infiltrate in the gastric mucosa, (2) massive substitution of gastric glands by lymphoid infiltration, and (3) a collection of lymphocytes infiltrating and partially destroying isolated glands (lymphoepithelial lesion). From 48 biopsies having intense benign lymphoid infiltrates, three were interpreted (by means of a blinded study) as compatible with GL. In poorly differentiated neoplasms (blastic and pleomorphic types), cytologic features were sufficient to diagnose GL or malignant neoplasms; immunohistochemical techniques were useful to define their lymphoid nature. It is concluded that many GLs can be suspected or correctly diagnosed by routine endoscopic biopsy.

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