Mediastinal (thymic) B-cell lymphoma (MBL) is a locally highly aggressive tumour that was first definitively described in the early 1980s. The incidence of MBL is low, which made disease characterisation difficult initially. However, MBL has several peculiar clinical, morphological, immunological, and genetic features. Collectively, these characteristics distinguish it from other diffuse, large B-cell lymphomas. Consequently, MBL has become a defined subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma with its own code (9679/3) in the International Classification of Diseases. New insights into the biological and clinical aspects of MBL have been gained from the study of large numbers of cases. Nevertheless, the histogenesis of the disease is not yet fully understood. We review the available data on MBL with special emphasis on its morphological, immunological, and genetic properties. Also discussed are recent data on molecular genetics, biology, and treatment.