Heterogeneity in the diagnosis of plasmablastic lymphoma, plasmablastic myeloma, and plasmablastic neoplasm: a scoping review

Int J Hematol. 2021 Dec;114(6):639-652. doi: 10.1007/s12185-021-03211-w. Epub 2021 Aug 30.


The diagnosis of plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL), plasmablastic myeloma (PBM), and plasmablastic neoplasm (PBN) may be arbitrary in some cases because these entities can be indistinct. We conducted this scoping review to investigate heterogeneity in diagnostic criteria used in previous studies and validate the diagnostic results of previous diagnostic algorithms and the algorithm we developed, which also includes diagnosis of PBN. Using the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews, we analyzed literature published between September 2017 and April 2020. We identified a total of 163 cases (128 PBL, 32 PBM, and 3 PBN) from 77 case reports and 8 case series. We found that diagnostic criteria in the literature varied for PBL but were consistent for PBM. Our algorithm was the first attempt to include PBN in a complete structure. The results of the three diagnostic algorithms varied significantly. Hematologists and pathologists should pay more attention to the differential diagnosis of PBL, PBM, and PBN.

Keywords: Plasmablastic lymphoma; Plasmablastic myeloma; Plasmablastic neoplasm; Scoping review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Management
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Myeloma / etiology
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms, Plasma Cell / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms, Plasma Cell / etiology
  • Plasmablastic Lymphoma / diagnosis*
  • Plasmablastic Lymphoma / etiology
  • Symptom Assessment


  • Biomarkers, Tumor