Histiocytic/dendritic cell transformation of B-cell neoplasms: pathologic evidence of lineage conversion in differentiated hematolymphoid malignancies.
B-cell lymphomas, such as low-grade follicular lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma, can transform to histiocytic/dendritic cell sarcoma (H/DS) in rare cases. The diagnosis of this unconventional neoplastic evolution relies on a combination of immunophenotypic analysis and genotypic studies. A genotype identical to that of the primary B-cell neoplasm in a secondary neoplasm with H/DS immunophenotype supports the lineage conversion to H/DS. Putative mechanisms for this unusual phenomenon include dedifferentiation, common immature progenitor, and transdifferentiation models, the latter of which is suggested by clinical laboratory data at the present time. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms governing this lineage conversion may facilitate the understanding of carcinogenesis of not only hematopoietic but also nonhematolymphoid neoplasms. The clinical outcome of secondary H/DS is dismal, as observed in sporadic cases, and the optimal treatment remains to be determined.
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