Follicular colonization in thyroid lymphoma

Am J Pathol. 1992 Jul;141(1):43-52.


The presence of neoplastic (light chain restricted) B-cell follicles in low-grade B-cell gastrointestinal (GI) lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) has been explained on the basis of specific colonization of reactive follicles by centrocyte-like (CCL) cells. Low-grade B-cell thyroid lymphomas have been included in the category of MALT lymphoma, but the frequent presence of a follicular pattern in these tumors has contributed to the view that they are follicle center cell (FCC) tumors. We have reviewed the histology and investigated the phenotype and genotype of nine cases of primary low-grade B-cell lymphoma of the thyroid, all of which were distinguished by a predominantly follicular pattern. All cases also demonstrated features of MALT lymphoma, including CCL cells and lymphoepithelial lesions. The appearances and immunohistology of the follicles were those of follicular colonization as described in GI MALT lymphoma rather than FCC follicular lymphoma. The predominant pattern of follicular colonization was replacement of the follicle center by slightly enlarged CCL cells that showed a strikingly high proliferation rate. No evidence of the t(14;18) translocation was found in any case, using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on DNA extracted from fresh (n = 1) or paraffin-embedded (n = 9) tissue. These findings argue against a FCC lineage for primary thyroid lymphomas and support their inclusion in the MALT category.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Southern
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / genetics
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology*


  • DNA, Neoplasm