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Br J Haematol. 1995 Oct;91(2):355-61.

Nasal natural killer (NK) cell lymphoma: report of a case with activated NK cells containing Epstein-Barr virus and expressing CD21 antigen, and comparative studies of their phenotype and cytotoxicity with normal NK cells.

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Department of Medicine, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Malignant lymphomas arising from the nasal cavity have been considered to be derived from T cells, but recent surface marker studies suggest that more than half of the lymphomas are derived from natural killer (NK) cells. Here we describe a case of nasal lymphoma whose lymphoma cells were identified as NK cells by morphological, phenotypic, immunogenotypic, and functional studies. We believe this is the first study with functional evidence of NK activity. When compared with normal freshly isolated NK cells or activated NK cells, the surface phenotypes and NK activity of the patient tumour cells were those of the activated, but not resting, NK cells. Also, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was detected in the tumour cells and the lymphoma cells were found to be monoclonally expanded. The patient's lymphoma cells also expressed EBV receptor CD21 (CR2) and CD30 (Ki-1) that have not been described on normal NK cells. We therefore examined highly enriched NK cells of normal donors, and found that some resting and/or activated NK cells express these antigens.

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