2017 Volume 57 Issue 3 Pages 120-142
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) was first described in 1985 as a large-cell neoplasm with anaplastic morphology immunostained by the Ki-1 antibody, which recognizes CD30. In 1994, the nucleophosmin (NPM)-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion receptor tyrosine kinase was identified in a subset of patients, leading to subdivision of this disease into ALK-positive and -negative ALCL in the present World Health Organization classification. Due to variations in morphology and immunophenotype, which may sometimes be atypical for lymphoma, many differential diagnoses should be considered, including solid cancers, lymphomas, and reactive processes. CD30 and ALK are key molecules involved in the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of ALCL. In addition, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3)-mediated mechanisms are relevant in both types of ALCL, and fusion/mutated receptor tyrosine kinases other than ALK have been reported in ALK-negative ALCL. ALK-positive ALCL has a better prognosis than ALK-negative ALCL or other peripheral T-cell lymphomas. Patients with ALK-positive ALCL are usually treated with anthracycline-based regimens, such as combination cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisolone (CHOP) or CHOEP (CHOP plus etoposide), which provide a favorable prognosis, except in patients with multiple International Prognostic Index factors. For targeted therapies, an anti-CD30 monoclonal antibody linked to a synthetic antimitotic agent (brentuximab vedotin) and ALK inhibitors (crizotinib, alectinib, and ceritinib) are being used in clinical settings.