Diffuse large B-cell lymphomas with plasmablastic differentiation

Curr Oncol Rep. 2005 Sep;7(5):357-63. doi: 10.1007/s11912-005-0062-5.


Recent evidence suggests that diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) with plasmablastic differentiation represents a clinically heterogeneous spectrum with different clinicopathologic characteristics representing distinct entities. Subtypes of DLBCL with plasmablastic features and terminal B-cell differentiation include plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL) of oral mucosa type; PBL with plasmacytic differentiation; primary effusion lymphoma (PEL); KSHV-positive solid lymphoma/extracavitary PEL/HHV-8 associated DLBCL; and DLBCL expressing ALK. In contrast, PBL associated with multicentric Castleman disease, DLBCL with secretory differentiation, pyothorax-associated lymphoma, and atypical Burkitt lymphoma with plasmacytoid differentiation have morphologic appearances of plasma cell differentiation but maintain a mature B-cell (CD20 positive) phenotype. These tumors as well as extramedullary plasmablastic tumors secondary to multiple myeloma or plasmacytomas are included in the differential diagnosis. In this review, we discuss recently described clinicopathologic insights, case observations, and recently reported molecules involved in terminal B-cell or plasma cell differentiation and their possible roles in disease pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD20 / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Castleman Disease / metabolism
  • Castleman Disease / therapy
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Empyema, Pleural / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Plasmacytoma / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD20