Immunohistochemistry and gene rearrangement studies in the diagnosis of malignant lymphomas: A comparison of 152 cases
One hundred fifty-two cases (155 specimens) of lymphoproliferative disorders were studied by immunohistochemistry and gene rearrangement analysis. Ninety-five of 96 B-cell lymphomas (99%) showed genotypic B-cell monoclonality. Of these, five cases had rearranged T-cell receptor (TCR) beta chain gene in addition to immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) and kappa light chain (Ig-K), one case had rearranged IgH and TCR-gamma chain but not Ig-K or TCR-beta, and two cases had only Ig-K rearrangement. One exceptional case in the B-cell lymphoma group had unrearranged, germline genotypes. In contrast, only 10 of 19 (53%) phenotypic T-cell lymphomas had rearranged TCR-beta, eight with concurrent TCR-gamma rearrangement. Of the remaining nine cases, six had germline configuration, two had rearranged Ig-K only, and one had both IgH and Ig-K rearrangement. This last case was reclassified as T-cell predominant, B-cell lymphoma. Thirteen of 16 cases of Hodgkin's disease had germline configuration; three cases had rearranged IgH and Ig-K, of which two were lymphocyte predominant with light chain monoclonality and one was a recurrence. Among 21 reactive lesions, 17 had germline configuration and four had rearranged IgH and Ig-K genes. Of these four cases, two were orbital lesions, one was a partially involved lymph node, and one developed a nodular lymphoma 9 months later. Our results indicate that almost all B-cell lymphomas have IgH and/or Ig-K rearrangement. In contrast, peripheral T-cell lymphomas have greater genotypic heterogeneity, and germline patterns for TCR genes are not uncommon. Reactive lesions and Hodgkin's disease tend to retain germline configuration, and any exception is often associated with an unusual clinical setting and/or histology. Genotypic analysis is thus most indicated in B-cell lymphomas with equivocal immunohistochemistry findings, T-cell lymphomas, and atypical cases of Hodgkin's disease and reactive lesions.