Splenic Micronodular T-Cell/Histiocyte-Rich Large B-Cell Lymphoma: The Corticosteroid Pretreatment Hypothesis

Acta Haematol. 2022;145(3):310-317. doi: 10.1159/000520791. Epub 2021 Nov 9.


Splenic micronodular T-cell/histiocyte-rich large B-cell lymphoma (THRLBCL) is derived from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma N.O.S., perhaps with some affinity with nodal THRLBCL. Of note, in contrast with the latter, the only lymph nodes involved in association with the splenic micronodular pattern of the disease are the splenic hilar lymph nodes. The possibility that corticosteroids, when prescribed prior to splenectomy, cause histopathological and functional modulations, apoptosis, necrosis, tissue shrinkage, which may obscure the diagnostic morphological features of this variant lymphoma and cause an underdiagnosis of this condition. The indications for glucocorticoid therapy are either related to the lymphoma itself, or else to other comorbidities, like asthma and autoimmune disorders. We propose that patients with the splenic subset of the disease are likely to have been prescribed corticosteroids prior to histopathologic examination of the involved spleen, causing disparate morphologies. However, a reviewer might accidentally dismiss the corticosteroid pretreatment which is thus overlooked. Apoptosis, induced by corticosteroids, is hypothesized as the major mechanism initiating the histopathological and functional changes in the splenic micronodular variant of the lymphoma.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Corticosteroids; Shrinkage; Splenic micronodular B-cell lymphoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Histiocytes / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse* / drug therapy
  • Spleen* / pathology
  • T-Lymphocytes


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones