Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the commonest type of lymphoid tumour world-wide. This category was included both in the REAL and WHO Classification aiming to lump together all malignant lymphomas characterized by the large size of the neoplastic cells, B-cell derivation, aggressive clinical presentation, and the need for highly effective chemotherapy regimens. These tumours are detected as primary or secondary forms both at the nodal and extranodal levels, in immunocompetent hosts as well as in patients with different types of immunosuppression. They display a significant variability in terms of cell morphology and clinical findings, which justifies the identification of variants and subtypes. Among the latter, the primary mediastinal one does actually correspond to a distinct clinicopathological entity. Immunophenotypic, tissue microarray and molecular studies underline the extreme heterogeneity of DLBCLs and suggest a subclassification of the tumour, based on the identification of different pathogenic pathways, which might have much greater relevance than pure morphology for precise prognostic previsions and adoption of ad hoc therapies. The more recent acquisitions on the pathobiology of DLBCLs are reviewed in the light of the authors' experience, aiming to contribute to the existing debate on the topic.