The metachronic onset of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) after classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) is a rare event affecting patients' outcomes. However, although several studies have investigated the prognostic role of this event, little is known about a hypothetical common origin of the two different neoplastic cells.
Aims: To investigate a possible relationship between DLBCL and cHL, in this retrospective study of 269 patients with newly diagnosed cHL treated at Bari University Hospital (Italy) between 2007 and 2020, we analyzed data from 4 patients (3 male and 1 female) with cHL who subsequently developed DLBCL.
Methods: Gene expression profile analysis, assessed by NanoString Lymphoma Subtype Assay, was performed to identify the cell of origin in the DLBCL cases, in addition to Hans's algorithm.
Results: Using Hans's algorithm, all DLBCL cases showed a germinal center-B-Cell subtype. The gene expression profile evaluated by the NanoString Lymphoma Subtype Assay revealed two cases of the GCB molecular subtype, while the others were unclassified. After first-line chemotherapy, 1 patient achieved complete remission, 3 were non-responders (2 died of lymphoma within 6 months, whereas the other achieved complete remission after autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantation and is still alive).
Conclusions: The origin of the second neoplastic cell in patients with DLBCL with a previous history of cHL remains controversial, although the different immunophenotypic characteristics suggest that it may mainly arise de novo in a subject with a possible individual predisposition to develop lymphoid neoplasms.
Keywords: cell of origin; classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma; diffuse large B cell lymphoma.