A primary immunoblastic T malignant lymphoma of the small bowel, with azurophilic intracytoplasmic granules. A histologic, immunologic, and electron microscopy study

Am J Surg Pathol. 1988 Aug;12(8):641-7.


We report an aggressive primary T-immunoblastic lymphoma of the small intestine without blood involvement or associated celiac disease. Grossly, the tumor was composed of multiple disseminated ulcerated, infiltrating, or protuberant nodular lesions. Immunologic investigation showed that lymphoma cells were of peripheral (post-thymic) T-cell origin and expressed the phenotype associated with cytotoxic-suppressor subset (Leu4/CD3+, Leu9/CD7+, Leu2/CD8+, Leu11/CD16+, Leu 7/NKcells+, FcIgG+, HLA-DR+, anti-Tac/CD25+, Ki-1/CD30-, Leu1/CD5-, Leu5/CD2-, Leu3/CD4-). A particular morphologic feature of this case is the presence of numerous azurophilic granules within the lymphoma cells, identified as lysosomes by cytochemical and ultrastructural studies. In view of recent immunologic evidence that normal cytotoxic/suppressor T-cells selectively reside within the epithelium of the normal bowel and some of them contain azurophilic granules, it could be suggested that our patient's lymphoma represents a malignant counterpart of these lymphocytes. Furthermore, the aggressive character of this T malignant lymphoma (T-ML) could be related to the expression of T-cell activation markers HLA-DR and Tac/CD25 and the proliferation-associated antigen Ki-67 on a high proportion of tumor cells.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cytoplasmic Granules / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / enzymology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / surgery
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness