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Histopathology. 1995 May;26(5):395-403.

Pulmonary B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. The value of immunohistochemistry and gene analysis in diagnosis.

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Department of Histopathology, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK.


We reviewed 45 pulmonary B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas to determine whether their morphology and immunohistochemical features were those of lymphomas arising from mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT), as described in other sites. The polymerase chain reaction was used to provide further information on clonality. We found that these lymphomas infiltrate the pulmonary interstitium along bronchovascular bundles and interlobular septa, subsequently spilling out into airspaces and finally destroying the alveolar architecture of the lung. Central hyaline sclerosis and vascular infiltration were common features. All lymphomas stained CD20 positive and were accompanied by variable numbers of reactive CD3 positive T-cells. Cytokeratin staining with CAM 5.2 was useful in identifying lymphoepithelial lesions. CD21 staining of follicular dendritic cells revealed germinal centres where they were not recognizable on H & E staining. The polymerase chain reaction was performed on paraffin tissue from 28 patients. Twenty were low grade, of which 12 showed a clonal band and eight showed a polyclonal smear pattern. Eight were high grade, of which one revealed a clonal band. Three produced polyclonal smear patterns and four cases were inadequate samples. In one patient who had lymphoma at a second extranodal site, identical bands were identified, evidence for 'homing' of lymphoid cells towards mucosal epithelium.

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