Aims: To bring to wider attention this uncommon, poorly understood entity which may closely resemble, clinically and morphologically, follicular lymphoma.
Methods and results: We report three cases of follicular lymphoid hyperplasia of the hard palate and oral mucosa which caused diagnostic difficulties for the referring pathologists. The clinicopathological features are described and integrated into a review of the 16 previously recorded cases. The condition most commonly presents as a slowly growing mass situated in the posterior hard palate but may present with multicentric oral lesions and lymphadenopathy. Morphologically, it is characterized by a dense follicular lymphoid infiltrate within the lamina propria which may show the classical features of benign reactive hyperplasia, but not uncommonly, indistinct germinal centres, ill-defined mantles and a lack of tingible-body macrophages are features which may lead to an erroneous diagnosis of follicular lymphoma.
Conclusions: Follicular lymphoid hyperplasia of the palate is a poorly recognized entity which is frequently confused with follicular lymphoma. Awareness of the entity combined with the use of immunohistochemistry for immunoglobulin light chains and bcl-2 protein allows a correct diagnosis to be made avoiding extensive investigation and aggressive treatment to the patient.