Background: The clinical relevance of the updated Kiel classification for T-cell lymphomas is discussed. Large series with long-term follow-up are needed to investigate the clinical relevance of a separation into high- and low-grade T-cell lymphomas, based on the Kiel classification.
Methods: The clinicopathologic data of 97 consecutive noncutaneous T-cell lymphomas, diagnosed in the Comprehensive Cancer Center Amsterdam, between July 1, 1985, and December 1, 1990, were reviewed and analyzed for their prognostic significance.
Results: Immunohistochemistry contributed substantially in the diagnosis of T-cell lymphoma. Using the updated Kiel classification, many difficulties occurred in classifying these lymphomas. Only large cell anaplastic lymphoma (LCAL) and lymphoblastic lymphoma (LBL) were classified with a high degree of confidence. Variables associated with prolonged survival were classified as LCAL and low stage of disease (Stage I and II) at clinical presentation. Multivariate survival analysis revealed that subtype (grouped as LCAL versus non-LCAL) was selected as the most significant variable, closely followed by stage of disease at clinical presentation (grouped as Stage I/II versus Stage III/IV). LCAL was associated with a significantly better survival than were all other types of high-grade T-cell lymphoma (P = 0.018) and tended to be associated with a better survival than low-grade T-cell lymphoma (P = 0.067). No significant differences in survival were found between the other types of T-cell lymphoma or between high- and low-grade T-cell lymphomas as classified according to the updated Kiel classification. Other variables, such as sex and age (younger than 60 years versus older than 60 years) had no significant influence on survival time.
Conclusions: This study indicates that the clinical relevance of classifying primary noncutaneous T-cell lymphomas according to the updated Kiel classification is limited because only a diagnosis of LCAL has prognostic relevance in predicting survival.