T-cell-rich B-cell lymphomas: A clinicopathologic study of 19 cases

W. R. Macon, M. E. Williams, J. P. Greer, R. S. Stein, R. D. Collins, J. B. Cousar

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106 Scopus citations


T-cell-rich B-cell lymphomas (TCRBCLs) are recently described, unusual non-Hodgkin's lymphomas that have a diffuse morphology, a predominance of reactive T-cells, and a minority of neoplastic B-cells. The clinical and pathological features of 19 TCRBCLs, all of which demonstrated B-cell clonality, are presented. These lymphomas generally affected older patients by widespread disease and usually were nodal in origin. Treatment varied, but continuous complete remissions (eight patients) were achieved only in those receiving chemotherapy directed at intermediate-grade lymphomas. Although morphologically heterogeneous, all cases resembled peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCLs); several TCRBCLs also contained Reed-Sternberg-like cells. Flow cytometry or frozen-section immunoperoxidase failed to detect monotypic immunoglobulin (Ig) in eight of eight cases tested. In contrast, paraffin immunoperoxidase was very useful diagnostically, showing large L26 (CD20- associated) positive cells scattered singly or in small clusters among numerous small T-cells (UCHL1[CD45RO] positive) in all cases. Monotypic cytoplasmic Ig was present in 16 of 19 cases, one of which exhibited plasmacytic differentiation. Southern blot analysis demonstrated relatively faint Ig J(H) and/or J(K) bands, indicating a small monoclonal B-cell population in nine of 11 cases, one of which also showed a bcl-2 rearrangement. No T-cell receptor gene rearrangements were observed. These results showed that TCRBCLs may be easily confused with PTCLs or occasionally confused with Hodgkin's disease. TCRBCLs are probably heterogeneous biologically; some cases are of follicular center cell origin. These lymphomas respond to chemotherapy directed at intermediate-grade lymphomas, apparently have a better prognosis than PT-CLs, and seem to represent morphological variants of different types of large B-cell lymphomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-363
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


  • B-cell lymphoma
  • Gene rearrangement
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymph node
  • Peripheral T-cell lymphoma
  • Reactive T- cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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