Is lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma/immunocytoma a distinct entity? A clinicopathologic study of 20 cases

Am J Surg Pathol. 2001 Jun;25(6):742-51. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200106000-00005.


Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma/immunocytoma (LLI) was defined initially as a small B-cell lymphoma with plasmacytoid or plasmacytic features. Because other types of small B-cell lymphoma, particularly marginal zone B-cell lymphoma may exhibit plasmacytic differentiation, the revised European-American lymphoma classification and World Health Organization has defined LLI more narrowly to exclude other small B-cell lymphomas. The goal of this study was to reevaluate LLI as a clinicopathologic entity. Twenty cases were selected from 43 previously diagnosed as "small lymphocytic lymphoma, plasmacytoid" or "immunocytoma" from 1985 to 1998. Cases fulfilling the criteria for B-cell small lymphocytic lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, marginal zone B-cell lymphoma, or other types of B-cell lymphoma were excluded. The histopathology and immunoreactivity for CD20, CD79a, CD3, CD43, CD23, CD5, kappa, lambda, and immunoglobulins (Ig's) M, G, and A were reviewed, in addition to available clinical findings. There were 13 men and seven women, with a mean age of 69 years. Five patients had documented Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM). Three architectural patterns were observed. Pattern A (seven of 20) showed open sinuses, small follicles, and hemosiderosis; pattern B (four of 20) showed hyperplastic follicles; and pattern C (nine of 20) showed diffuse effacement. Epithelioid histiocytes were prominent in patterns B and C but absent in A. Cytologically, six of 20 were polymorphous with 10% to 40% transformed cells; 14 of 20 were lymphoplasmacytic. Five cases showed minor foci of monocytoid B cells. One case showed a composite histology of LLI and small lymphocytic lymphoma. Amyloid was present in two cases. All cases were CD20 and/or CD79a immunoreactive, with two of 20 positive for CD43. Twelve cases were kappa monoclonal and eight cases were lambda monoclonal. Twelve of 17 cases that could be evaluated were positive for IgM and five were positive for IgG. All cases were negative for CD5 and CD23 with the exception of the one case with a composite histology. Eleven of 20 patients with available follow-up died of disease (median, 48 months), and eight of 20 are alive with disease at a follow-up of 6 months to 2 years. LLI does appear to represent a distinct clinicopathologic entity even though it shows morphologic heterogeneity and overlapping features with marginal zone B-cell lymphoma and small lymphocytic lymphoma. Recognition of LLI is important because the overall prognosis may be worse than for other types of small B-cell lymphomas.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / classification*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged