Chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL) accounts for approximately 1% of all lymphomas in our department. In this article, we describe the differential diagnosis of CLL/SLL from other indolent lymphomas, with special reference to follicular lymphoma, marginal zone B-cell lymphoma, lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma, although the latter is considered to be aggressive. CLL/SLL often exhibits proliferation centers, similar to follicular lymphoma. Immunohistological examination can easily distinguish these two lymphomas. The most important characteristic of CLL/SLL is CD5 and CD23 positivity. Mantle cell lymphoma is also CD5-positive and there are some CD23-positive cases. Such cases should be carefully distinguished from CLL/SLL. Some marginal zone lymphomas are also positive for CD5 and such cases are often disseminated. Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma should also be a differential diagnosis for CLL/SLL. It frequently demonstrates MYD88 L265P, which is a key differential finding. By immunohistological examination, the expression of lymphoid enhancer-binding factor 1 is specific for CLL/SLL and can be a good marker in the differential diagnosis.
Treatment for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is becoming more individualized due to the recent introduction of novel molecularly targeted therapies into the therapeutic armamentarium. Genomic and molecular risk factors in CLL patients determine the individual risk for disease progression and response to therapy, and can impact survival. In this review article, we discuss current treatment strategies for CLL patients in Japan, where the novel targeted agents, the BTK inhibitor ibrutinib and BCL2 antagonist venetoclax, now are available and increasingly used in clinical practice. We also discuss the importance of CLL risk factors for making therapy decisions, focusing on immunoglobulin variable region heavy chain (IGHV) mutation status, 11q deletion, and 17p deletion. Treatment approaches for CLL have rapidly changed in the past few years because of these new targeted agents. They are highly effective, well tolerated, and have been demonstrated in a series of large randomized clinical trials to improve survival when compared with conventional chemotherapy-based treatment. Therefore, for most patients, especially high-risk CLL patients, BTK inhibitor and BCL2 antagonist therapies are preferred over chemo-immunotherapy. Currently ongoing studies seek to determine the best sequence for these new agents and whether a combination therapy approach is beneficial. With these developments, a new era of chemotherapy-free treatment for CLL patients is expected.
Treatment outcomes of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have improved since chemoimmunotherapy and novel drugs became available for CLL treatment; therefore, more sensitive methods to evaluate residual CLL cells in patients are required. Measurable residual disease (MRD) has been assessed in several clinical trials on CLL using flow cytometry, real-time quantitative PCR (RQ-PCR) with allele-specific oligonucleotide (ASO) primers, and high-throughput sequencing. MRD assessment is useful to predict the treatment outcomes in the context of chemotherapy and treatment with novel drugs such as venetoclax. In this review, we discuss major techniques for MRD assessment, data from relevant clinical trials, and the future of MRD assessment in CLL treatment.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common adult leukemia in Western countries and is characterized by the clonal expansion of mature CD5+ B cells. There have been substantial advances in the field of CLL research in the last decade, including the identification of recurrent mutations, and clarification of clonal architectures, signaling molecules, and the multistep leukemogenic process, providing a comprehensive understanding of CLL pathogenesis. Furthermore, the development of therapeutic approaches, especially that of molecular target therapies against CLL, has markedly improved the standard of care for CLL. This review focuses on the recent insights made in CLL leukemogenesis and the development of novel therapeutic strategies.
Some patients diagnosed with methotrexate-associated lymphoproliferative disorder (MTX-LPD) develop spontaneous regression upon the discontinuation of MTX, whereas others require chemotherapy. The mechanisms underlying this differential response and the capacity to spontaneously regress are not clearly understood. We evaluated numerous clinicopathological features in 63 patients diagnosed with MTX-LPD, with a special focus on those with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive mucocutaneous lesions (EBVMCL). The diagnosis of EBVMCL included cases of both EBV-positive mucocutaneous ulcers (EBVMCU) and diffuse gingival swelling associated with proliferation of EBV-positive large B-cells. Of the four subgroups of MTX-LPD, one-year treatment-free survival (TFS) after the discontinuation of MTX was achieved among those with EBVMCL (100%), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (57%), Hodgkin-like lesions (60%), or classical Hodgkin lymphoma (29%); a significant difference in TFS was observed when comparing the responses of patients with EBVMCL to the those diagnosed with other subtypes. Multivariate analysis revealed predictive factors for prolonged TFS that included EBV-positive lesions and comparatively low levels of serum LDH. Taken together, our study suggests that a diagnosis of EBVMCL is related to the overall clinical outcome after the discontinuation of MTX.
In situ mantle cell neoplasia (isMCN) and leukemic non-nodal mantle cell lymphoma (nnMCL) are classified as an indolent subtype of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). The tumor cells of isMCN are restricted to the inner layer of the lymphoid tissue mantle zone, exhibiting an in situ pattern histologically. On the other hand, nnMCL is distributed in the peripheral blood, bone marrow and sometimes the spleen, but lymphadenopathy or systemic organ involvement is rare. We report a case of isMCN in a submandibular lymph node resected from a 65-year-old Japanese male. The tumor cells were positive for cyclin D1 (CCND1) and SOX11 expression, and were restricted to the mantle zone area of the lymph node. However, tumor cells were also detected in the stomach mucosa, bone marrow tissue and peripheral blood, suggesting nnMCL. isMCN and nnMCL may have a partly overlapping disease spectrum, although the correlation between these two subtypes has not been well described. This present case demonstrated characteristics overlapping between isMCN and nnMCL.
Although some patients with COVID-19 develop only mild symptoms, fatal complications have been observed among those with comorbidities. As patients with cancer are immunocompromised, they are thought to have a high risk of severe illness associated with COVID-19. We report a COVID-19 patient with adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma (ATL) who was treated using favipiravir. A 69-year-old woman with lymphoma-type ATL was treated using cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisolone and mogamulizumab (M-CHOP) with substantial efficacy. However, in cycle 4 of M-CHOP therapy, she developed fever with mild cough. The patient was admitted to the hospital and CT revealed bilateral ground-glass opacities. SARS-CoV-2 was detected by RT-PCR and the patient was diagnosed with COVID-19. Considering severe immunosuppression caused by ATL, we initiated favipiravir therapy. Subsequently, the fever improved without antipyretics and her C-reactive protein level decreased rapidly. SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests were negative on days 17 and 18 of favipiravir therapy, and the patient was discharged without residual disease on the final CT. This is the first documented case of COVID-19 in a patient with ATL. Although severe immunosuppression caused by ATL was present, severe COVID-19 pneumonia did not develop. The immunosuppressed condition caused by hematological malignancy may not always be a risk factor for severe illness associated with COVID-19. Further accumulation of data regarding COVID-19 in patients with hematological malignancies is warranted to clarify the risk factors for severe illness, the best-in-class antiviral agent, and the optimal treatment strategy in this population.
Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD) is a non-Langerhans form of histiocytosis that occurs in systemic organs, such as bone, the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, lungs, and kidneys. We report the case of a 68-year-old woman with a cranial pharyngeal tumor and a bone lesion in the tibia. The case was diagnosed as ECD. Pathological analysis showed the typical feature of foamy macrophage accumulation. The macrophages were positive for CD68, and negative for CD1a and S100. The BRAF V600E mutation was identified. In addition, immunohistochemistry was performed for the detailed characterization of the macrophages. The macrophages had low proliferative activity and an M2-like phenotype, and they expressed colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF1R) on the cell surface.