Thymidine phosphorylase expression in B-cell lymphomas and its significance: a new prognostic marker?

Anal Quant Cytopathol Histpathol. 2013 Dec;35(6):301-5.


Objective: To explore thymidine phosphorylase (TP) expression in B-cell lymphomas (BCLs). TP is expressed by tumor and stromal cells in a variety of cancers.

Study design: Paraffin-embedded tissues from follicular lymphomas, diffuse large BCLs (DLBCLs), and benign lymph nodes were studied using immunohistochemical staining with antibodies for TP and CD68. Prognostic markers were used to stain DLBCLs. We correlated TP expression in DLBCL indirectly with prognostic immunomarkers and directly with survival data.

Results: TP expression in BCLs was noted in a subset of malignant B cells. TP expression in higher-grade lymphoma was identified in 66% of cases and 11% of lower-grade lymphomas. Macrophages/stromal cells demonstrated an intense cytoplasmic and/or nuclear staining pattern in both lymphoma and benign lymph nodes, confirmed by CD68 coexpression. Increased macrophage/ stromal cells in higher-grade lymphomas are associated with enhanced TP expression in neoplastic B cells (observation only). Sixty-eight percent of TP-positive DLBCLs were of nongerminal center origin, indicating poorer prognosis.

Conclusion: TP is more likely expressed by malignant B cells in higher-grade lymphomas, and expression of TP possibly results from changes intrinsic to the tumor cells or interactions between microenvironment and tumor. TP positivity in DLBCL correlates with nongerminal center origin and worse outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / enzymology*
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / mortality
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thymidine Phosphorylase / analysis
  • Thymidine Phosphorylase / biosynthesis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Thymidine Phosphorylase