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Blood. 2011 May 12;117(19):5019-32. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-01-293050. Epub 2011 Feb 7.

The 2008 WHO classification of lymphoid neoplasms and beyond: evolving concepts and practical applications.

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Hematopathology Section, Department of Anatomic Pathology, Hospital Clinic, Institute of Biomedical Research August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


The World Health Organization classification of lymphoid neoplasms updated in 2008 represents a worldwide consensus on the diagnosis of these tumors and is based on the recognition of distinct diseases, using a multidisciplinary approach. The updated classification refined the definitions of well-recognized diseases, identified new entities and variants, and incorporated emerging concepts in the understanding of lymphoid neoplasms. However, some questions were unresolved, such as the extent to which specific genetic or molecular alterations define certain tumors, and the status of provisional entities, categories for which the World Health Organization working groups felt there was insufficient evidence to recognize as distinct diseases at this time. In addition, since its publication, new findings and ideas have been generated. This review summarizes the scientific rationale for the classification, emphasizing changes that have had an effect on practice guidelines. The authors address the criteria and significance of early or precursor lesions and the identification of certain lymphoid neoplasms largely associated with particular age groups, such as children and the elderly. The issue of borderline categories having overlapping features with large B-cell lymphomas, as well as several provisional entities, is reviewed. These new observations chart a course for future research in the field.

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