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Nodal Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphomas in Children and Adolescents: Immunohistochemical Expression Patterns and c-MYC Translocation in Relation to Clinical Outcome

Gualco, Gabriela MD*; Weiss, Lawrence M. MD; Harrington, William J. Jr MD; Bacchi, Carlos E. MD*

The American Journal of Surgical Pathology: December 2009 - Volume 33 - Issue 12 - p 1815-1822
doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e3181bb9a18
Original Articles

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a very infrequent neoplasm in the pediatric age group; therefore there are very few studies on the immunophenotype or genetics of these cases. We studied a series of 16 patients with nodal DLBCL occurring in patients between 10 and 18 years of age. The cases were classified according to the 2008 World Health Organization classification criteria, with application of immunohistochemistry for the detection of CD10, BCL-6, and MUM1 proteins to divide the lymphomas into germinal center and nongerminal center types. In addition, TCL1, BCL-2 expression, and the Ki-67 proliferation index were evaluated by immunohistochemistry, and c-MYC and BCL2 translocations were evaluated by fluorescence in situ hybridization. All these parameters were correlated with clinical features and outcome. Our study revealed that centroblastic morphology and the germinal center type of DLBCL are more prevalent in these young patients (63%), with 37% containing a c-MYC translocation. Only 1 case showed a BCL2 translocation, reflecting a double-hit case with features intermediate between DLBCL and Burkitt lymphoma. We found a higher frequency of BCL-2 expression than previously reported, with no direct influence on the outcome of the disease in univariate or multivariate analysis. The expression of TCL1 has not been specifically studied in nodal pediatric DLBCL before; we found a 31% incidence of TCL1 expression. MUM1 expression was observed in 44% of the cases and these positive cases showed a significant negative impact on clinical outcome. TCL1 is directly and significantly associated with the presence of c-MYC and a high proliferative index. The germinal center and nongerminal center subtypes showed significant differences for both overall survival and disease-free interval. c-MYC translocation was found in 37% of patients, and had a favorable impact on clinical outcome. We conclude that nodal pediatric and adolescent DLBCL are mainly of the germinal center type, with a generally good outcome despite the frequent expression of BCL-2 and the presence of c-MYC translocation. TCL1 expression seems to be associated with a good clinical outcome, whereas MUM1 expression predicts a poor clinical outcome.

*Consultoria em Patologia, Botucatu, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Division of Pathology at the City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Sylvester Cancer Center, Fogarty International Center, Miami, FL

Correspondence: Carlos E. Bacchi, MD, Consultoria em Patologia, Rua Major Leônidas Cardoso 739, Botucatu, SP, 18602-010, Brazil (e-mail:

This study was partially supported by NIH R01CA1219-09 (W.H.).

No conflict of interest to declare.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.