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Blood. 1997 Mar 1;89(5):1483-90.

A new subtype of large B-cell lymphoma expressing the ALK kinase and lacking the 2; 5 translocation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, CHU Purpan, Toulouse, France.


Seven cases of large B-cell lymphoma which define a previously unrecognized subgroup are reported. Morphologically they are comprised of monomorphic large immunoblast-like cells, containing large central nucleoli, which tend to invade lymphatic sinuses. Superficially they resemble anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) but they lack CD30. These lymphomas express epithelial membrane antigen (as do ALCL), but also contain intracytoplasmic IgA of a single light chain type (five cases) and an endoplasmic reticulum-associated marker detected by antibody VS38. They lack lineage-associated leukocyte antigens with the exception of CD4 (5 of 5 cases) and CD57 (5 of 7 cases). They are labeled by antibodies detecting both the intracytoplasmic and extracellular regions of the ALK receptor kinase, suggesting that they express the full-length form of this molecule. This was confirmed by Western blotting (in the one case tested) which showed a band of 200 kD in tumor cell lysates, and by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of mRNA encoding intracellular and extracellular ALK sequences (in the two cases tested). There was no evidence by cytogenetics (one case analyzed) or reverse transcriptase-PCR (three cases tested) of the 2; 5 translocation or the resultant NPM-ALK gene, as is commonly found in ALCL. All but one of the patients were male and all but one were adults, and in all but the latter case the disease followed an aggressive course.

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