Bone marrow biopsy involvement by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: frequency of lymphoma types, patterns, blood involvement, and discordance with other sites in 450 specimens

Am J Surg Pathol. 2005 Dec;29(12):1549-57. doi: 10.1097/01.pas.0000182405.65041.8b.


To evaluate the features of bone trephine biopsy involvement by non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 450 specimens were evaluated for percentage of marrow involvement, pattern of involvement, presence of germinal centers or follicular structures, and discordance with other involved sites. A subset of 197 cases was evaluated for evidence of concurrent peripheral blood involvement. Follicular grade 1 lymphoma (30.4%) was the most common type to involve the marrow, followed by diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (16.0%), mantle cell lymphoma (9.3%), low-grade B-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified (8.7%), lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (8.4%), follicular grade 2 lymphoma (7.1%), and mature T- and NK-cell lymphomas (6.4%). A mixed pattern of infiltration was most common, followed by paratrabecular, nodular, diffuse, and interstitial patterns. Greater than 90% of follicular lymphomas had at least a focal paratrabecular infiltration pattern, but this pattern was also seen with other lymphoma types. Interstitial disease infiltration tended to correlate with lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma but was also not specific. The presence of germinal centers or follicular structures was associated with follicular lymphoma in 88% of cases. Discordance between the bone marrow morphology and other tissue sites was observed in 24.9% of cases and was most often seen with follicular or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Peripheral blood involvement by lymphoma was observed in 29% of cases, found in all disease groups except for follicular grade 3 lymphoma. This study highlights the frequency of different lymphoma patterns in the marrow, limitations of primary lymphoma classification on biopsy material alone, and the relative frequency of marrow discordance and peripheral blood involvement by marrow lymphoma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Blood Cell Count / classification
  • Blood Cell Count / statistics & numerical data
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Count / classification
  • Lymphocyte Count / statistics & numerical data
  • Lymphoma / classification*
  • Lymphoma / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies