T-cell-rich B-cell lymphoma. A clinicopathologic study of eight cases

Am J Clin Pathol. 1995 Jan;103(1):65-75. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/103.1.65.


Although T-cell-rich B-cell lymphoma (TCRBCL) is a recently recognized form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), limited information regarding its incidence, cellular origin, morphologic spectrum, and biologic behavior is currently available. In this study, the clinicopathologic features of eight patients with TCRBCL are presented. This neoplasm comprised about 1% of all NHLs seen at Emory University Hospital over 2 years. The male-to-female ratio was 1.6, and the mean age at diagnosis was 60 years. At presentation, TCRBCL was nodal in 88% of the patients and widely disseminated in 50% of the patients. A complete remission was seen in three of the five patients treated with combination chemotherapy that was directed at intermediate grade NHL. Three patients received inadequate or incomplete chemotherapy. One of these patients later achieved a complete remission with more intensive therapy. Two of the patients were not evaluable for response to therapy. The actuarial and disease-free survival rates of the group at 5 years were 72% and 21%, respectively. Morphologically, the lymph nodes in seven of eight cases were diffusely obliterated, whereas one had markedly expanded interfollicular zones that lead to an initial diagnosis of T-zone lymphoma. All tumors were characterized by no more than 25% large lymphoid cells, which were scattered in a background of small lymphocytes with round or irregular nuclei. The presence of numerous histiocytes imparted a lymphoepithelioid appearance in two cases. Although immunoperoxidase stains of frozen tissue were initially suggestive of a peripheral T-cell lymphoma in some cases, paraffin immunoperoxidase stains clearly established the B-cell nature of the large cells, whereas most of the small cells were T lymphocytes. The clonal nature of the large cells was confirmed in seven cases by monotypic immunoglobulin (Ig) light chain restriction or Ig gene rearrangements. Epstein-Barr virus genomic DNA was detected in two of the six cases tested by polymerase chain reaction or Southern blot analysis, but no evidence of a bcl-2 rearrangement was found in any of the five cases examined. These findings indicate that TCRBCL is an uncommon form of NHL with a therapeutic response and overall survival consistent with intermediate grade lymphoma. Paraffin immunoperoxidase stains and occasionally genotypic analysis are required to exclude the diagnosis of PTCL or diffuse lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin's disease. The authors found no morphologic or molecular evidence to support a follicular center cell origin in these cases of TCRBCL.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / genetics
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Survival Analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology*