Anaplastic large-cell lymphomas of B-cell phenotype are anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) negative and belong to the spectrum of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas

Br J Haematol. 2000 Jun;109(3):584-91. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2141.2000.02045.x.


There is controversy in the literature as to whether anaplastic large-cell lymphoma of B-cell phenotype is related to the t(2;5)-positive T- or 'null' cell lymphoma of the same morphology. We report a study of 24 lymphomas with morphological features of anaplastic large-cell lymphoma which expressed one or more B-cell markers and lacked T-lineage markers. Clinical features were more in keeping with large B-cell lymphoma than with classical t(2;5)-positive anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, and immunostaining for anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) protein provided no evidence for the (2;5) translocation (or one of its variants). The staining patterns for CD20 and CD79 were typical of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, CD30 expression was variable, and most cases (15/22) lacked epithelial membrane antigen (EMA). These findings support the view that 'B-cell anaplastic large-cell lymphoma' is unrelated to t(2;5)-positive (ALK-positive) lymphoma, and that it represents a morphological pattern occasionally encountered among diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. By the same reasoning, most tumours diagnosed as 'ALK-negative anaplastic large-cell lymphoma of T-cell or null phenotype' probably belong to the spectrum of peripheral T-cell lymphomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antigens, CD20 / analysis
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • CD79 Antigens
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Ki-1 Antigen / analysis
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / classification*
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / enzymology
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / immunology
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / enzymology
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / immunology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / analysis
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Biomarkers
  • CD79 Antigens
  • CD79B protein, human
  • Ki-1 Antigen
  • ALK protein, human
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases