Primary Mediastinal (Thymic) Large B-Cell Lymphoma: Fidelity of Diagnosis Using WHO Criteria.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Diagnosing primary mediastinal (thymic) large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) is challenging because it is a clinicopathologic entity that shares characteristics with other lymphomas and lacks pathognomonic features. We sought to investigate the fidelity between a working diagnosis of PMBCL at our institution and the clinicopathologic criteria established within the 2017 World Health Organization (WHO) classification. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Medical records and archived tissue of patients treated for stage I-II PMBCL from 1998 to 2018 were retrospectively reviewed for clinical and pathologic conformity with current WHO criteria. Disease was characterized as definitely PMBCL if all of the following were present: anterior mediastinal mass with or without lymph node involvement, no extranodal disease, B-cell antigen expression, Epstein-Barr virus negativity, and at least one supportive feature: female gender under age 40, bulky primary tumor, CD30 weakly positive, compartmentalizing alveolar fibrosis, lack of surface immunoglobulin expression, and MUM1 or CD23 positivity. Disease without supportive features or other pathologic findings more suggestive of other entities was characterized as equivocal for PMBCL. Lack of an anterior mediastinal mass, presence of distant lymph node involvement or extranodal disease, lack of B-cell antigen expression, or Epstein-Barr virus positivity were characterized as definitely not PMBCL. Clinical management and outcomes were also assessed. RESULTS: Of 63 patients treated for presumed stage I-II PMBCL, 58 (92%) met the criteria for PMBCL. The most common reason for a discordant diagnosis was lack of an anterior mediastinal mass (n = 3). Two additional patients were characterized as having disease equivocal for PMBCL. In retrospect, one patient most likely had a mediastinal gray zone lymphoma due to CD15 positivity and another diffuse large B cell, not otherwise specified, at pathologic review. Five-year progression-free and overall survival were 67% (95% confidence interval, 54-77) and 81% (95% confidence interval, 68-89), respectively, for all patients. CONCLUSION: Despite the complexity of the clinicopathologic criteria of PMBCL, most patients (92%) who were treated for stage I-II PMBCL at our institution appear to have been accurately diagnosed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fairchild, A; McCall, CM; Oyekunle, T; Niedzwiecki, D; Champ, C; McKinney, M; Kelsey, CR

Published Date

  • May 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 5

Start / End Page

  • e464 - e469

PubMed ID

  • 33487576

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2152-2669

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.clml.2020.12.015


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States