Masson Trichrome and Sulfated Alcian Blue Stains Distinguish Light Chain Deposition Disease from Amyloidosis in the Lung

Shajo Kunnath-Velayudhan, Brandon T. Larsen, Shana M. Coley, Simona De Michele, Dominick Santoriello, Thomas V. Colby, Govind Bhagat, Anjali Saqi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Light chain deposition disease, characterized by nonamyloidogenic deposits of immunoglobulin light chains, is rare in the lung and possibly underdiagnosed due to low clinical suspicion and lack of readily accessible tests. We encountered a case of pulmonary light chain deposition disease (PLCDD) in which light chain deposits appeared crimson red with a Masson trichrome (MT) stain and salmon pink with a sulfated Alcian blue (SAB) stain. This prompted us to characterize a series of PLCDD cases and assess the utility of MT and SAB stains to distinguish them from amyloidosis. From the pathology archives of 2 institutions spanning 10 years, we identified 11 cases of PLCDD, including 7 diagnosed as such and 4 determined retrospectively. The deposits in all cases of PLCDD stained crimson red with MT and salmon pink with SAB, while the cases of pulmonary amyloid (n=10) stained blue-gray and blue-green, respectively. The immunoglobulin light chain nature of the deposits was confirmed in 10 of 11 cases by either immunofluorescence microscopy (n=5) or mass spectrometry (n=5). Transmission electron microscopy revealed osmiophilic, electron-dense deposits in all cases analyzed (n=3). An extranodal marginal zone lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue type was diagnosed in 10 cases and 1 represented a plasma cell neoplasm. Our study highlights the importance of considering PLCDD in the differential diagnosis of amyloid-like deposits in the lung and the value of performing MT and SAB stains to distinguish between PLCDD and amyloidosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-413
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Masson trichrome stain
  • amyloidosis
  • marginal zone lymphoma
  • monoclonal immunoglobulin deposition disease
  • pulmonary light chain deposition disease
  • sulfated Alcian blue stain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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