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Am J Clin Pathol. 1996 Mar;105(3):277-85.

Splenic marginal zone cell lymphoma. An immunophenotypic and molecular study of five cases.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence.


Splenic marginal zone cell lymphoma (SMZCL) is a recently described clinicopathologic entity, that is reported to overlap with splenic B-cell lymphoma with villous lymphocytes. The authors describe the clinicopathologic, immunophenotypic, and molecular findings in five cases of SMZCL. There were two males and three females, with a mean age of 68.4 years, who presented with peripheral blood cytopenias and splenomegaly. One patient had an absolute lymphocytosis with many villous lymphocytes. With clinical follow-up of 9 to 37 months, two patients are alive and three patients died of unrelated causes. Splenectomy was done in each patient and the spleens were large, 970-2,400 g. Histologically, the SMZCLs preferentially replaced the marginal and mantle zones with partial or complete replacement of germinal centers in the white pump. The neoplastic cells were predominantly small to medium in size with oval or slightly irregular nuclei and relatively abundant pale or eosinophilic cytoplasm. Immunophenotypic studies demonstrated that the neoplastic cells expressed monotypic immunoglobulin, IgD in four tumors, pan-B-cell antigens, and bcl-2. The tumor cells were negative for the CD2, CD3, CD5, CD10, CD11c, CD25, CD35, CD38, CD45RO, and CD68 antigens, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase. Southern blot hybridization revealed immunoglobulin gene rearrangements in all tumors. The major breakpoint region of the bcl-2 gene and the T-cell receptor beta chain gene were in the germline configuration. Polymerase chain reaction studies did not identify the t(14;18) or t(11;14). All cases were negative for p53 protein and single-stranded conformational polymorphism analysis for p53 gene mutations was negative. Our results support the concept that SMZCL is a clinically indolent, low grade B-cell lymphoma that probably arises from splenic marginal zone lymphocytes.

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