Follicular lymphoma (FL) is the most frequent indolent lymphoma and is characterized by the abundant infiltration of tumor microenvironment (TME) cells. The activity of TME cells reportedly plays an important role in the biology of FL. TME cells that reside within neoplastic follicles, such as T-follicular helper cells and follicular dendritic cells, have been shown to aid in FL development and progression through interactions with malignant B cells, whereas regulatory T cells have unexpectedly shown an apparently favorable prognostic impact in FL. Unfortunately, the understanding of the FL TME, particularly regarding minor cell subsets, has been hampered by unknown cell heterogeneity. As with other solid and hematologic cancers, novel single-cell analysis technologies have recently been applied to FL research and have uncovered previously unrecognized heterogeneities, not only in malignant B cells but also in TME cells. These reports have greatly increased the resolution of our understanding of the FL TME and, at the same time, raised questions about newly identified TME cells. This review provides an overview of the unique aspects of FL TME cells with a clinical viewpoint and highlights recent discoveries from single-cell analysis, while also suggesting potential future directions.
Follicular lymphoma is one of the most frequent lymphomas. Histologically, it is characterized by a follicular (nodular) growth pattern of centrocytes and centroblasts; mixed with variable immune microenvironment cells. Clinically, it is characterized by diffuse lymphadenopathy, bone marrow involvement, and splenomegaly. It is biologically and clinically heterogeneous. In most patients it is indolent, but others have a more aggressive evolution with relapses; and transformation to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Tumorigenesis includes an asymptomatic preclinical phase in which premalignant B-lymphocytes with the t(14;18) chromosomal translocation acquire additional genetic alterations in the germinal centers, and clonal evolution occurs, although not all the cells progress to the tumor stage. This manuscript reviews the pathobiology and clinicopathological characteristics of follicular lymphoma. It includes a description of the physiology of the germinal center, the genetic alterations of BCL2 and BCL6, the mutational profile, the immune checkpoint, precision medicine, and highlights in the lymphoma classification. In addition, a comment and review on artificial intelligence and machine (deep) learning are made.
Tumoral microRNAs, such as miR-125b and miR-155b, are important gene expression regulators with complex pathogenetic mechanisms. However, their role in DLBCL, especially when cell-of-origin classification is considered, are still to be elucidated. In a series of 139 DLBCL cases considering germinal center (GC) versus nonGC subtypes, we investigated miR-125b and miR-155b expression by in situ hibridization and their association with some immunophenotypic presentations, including MYC, BCL2 and TP53 expression, MYC, BCL2 and BCL6 translocation status, as well as clinicopathological features and outcomes. miR-125b detection was positively correlated to the Ki-67 index (P = 0.035) in the nGC. Considering the GC subgroup, the percentage of miR-125b positive cells was also correlated to either MYC and MYC/BCL2 double expression (P = 0.047 and P = 0.049, respectively). When it comes to nGC patients, miR-155b percentage and intensity, as well as Allred score, were positively correlated to disease progression (P = 0.038, P = 0.057 and P = 0.039, respectively). In a multivariate analysis, GC phenotype was a significant independent factor associated with higher OS (P = 0.007) and, considering the nGC group, although not significant, the expression of TP53, miR-125b and miR-155b seems to be potential prognostic biomarkers in these tumors. This study demonstrated different pathways based on cell-of-origin classification and highlighted different clinical outcomes. miR-125b, miR-155b and TP53 expression may also represent potential prognostic factors in nGC-DLBCL.
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are myeloid neoplasms that are driven by genetic mutations. Generally, it is thought that a higher number of mutations is associated with worse prognosis. However, the impact of genetic mutations when they occur in the same functional class has not been well studied. Here we investigated the impact of multiple spliceosome mutations on prognosis in MDS patients, hypothesizing that multiple mutations in the same class are biologically redundant and would not affect prognosis. Departmental Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) database (>6000 cases) was queried and the data was analyzed to identify cases with spliceosome mutations (SF3B1, SRSF2, U2AF1, ZRSR2, U2AF1). Overall, 71 patients met criteria for the study. Cases with single spliceosome mutations (i.e., no other co-mutations whatsoever) were as follows: SF3B1 (38), SRSF2 (5), U2AF2 (11), and ZRSR2 (1). Cases with concurrent spliceosome mutations were as follows: SF3B1 + SRSF2 (5), SF3B1 + U2AF1 (1), SF3B1 + ZRSR2 (3), SRSF2 + U2AF1 (2), SRSF2 + ZRSR2 (1), U2AF1 + ZRSR2 (4). Four of 55 (7.3%) of patients in the single mutation group vs. 4 of 16 (25%) of patients in the concurrent mutation group progressed to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Mean OS in the single mutation group was 103.5 months vs. 71.6 months in the multiple concurrent mutation group (χ2= 2.404; p= 0.12). Our results challenge the current dogma that increased mutation in MDS portend worse survival. We demonstrate that multiple mutations bear no impact on clinical prognosis when the additional mutations occur in same spliceosome class.
Here we describe our experience with a rare case of methotrexate (MTX)-associated lymphoproliferative disorder (LPD) initially diagnosed as follicular lymphoma (FL) and then in relapse as classic Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL). A 66-year-old man was admitted to the hospital with fever and abdominal and lower back pain after a transient remission of MTX-associated FL (MTX-FL) following MTX withdrawal. Computed tomography (CT) showed para-aortic lymphadenopathy, which was compatible with one of the previous FL lesions. We considered a relapse of FL and started bendamustine and rituximab. Although his initial symptoms and para-aortic lymphadenopathy regressed after the first course, he began to have dorsal pain, and multiple osteolytic lesions were detected on CT. We biopsied a Th4 vertebra osteolytic lesion, and the results indicated MTX-associated CHL (MTX-CHL). We successfully treated advanced MTX-CHL with brentuximab vedotin, doxorubicin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (A+AVD). This case suggests the importance of repeat biopsy of a new lesion arising after resolution of previously affected sites in MTX-LPD and the effectiveness of A+AVD in treating advanced MTX-CHL.
We report two cases of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) with composite germinal center B-cell (GCB) and non-GCB types. Case 1 was a 72-year-old woman with inguinal lymph node swelling. Two morphologically different lesions were concurrently observed in needle biopsy specimens. One lesion was DLBCL with centroblastic morphology and a GCB phenotype (CD10+, BCL6+, and MUM1−), according to the Hans algorithm. The other lesion was DLBCL with anaplastic morphology and a non-GCB phenotype (CD10−, BCL6+, and MUM1+). Considering cellular atypia, the GCB-type DLBCL likely progressed to non-GCB-type DLBCL. Case 2 was a 34-year-old man who underwent ileocecal resection, with four lesions observed in the ileum. All four lesions indicated centroblastic morphology. Three lesions showed a GCB phenotype (CD10+, BCL6+, and MUM1+), while the other showed a non-GCB phenotype (CD10−, BCL6+, and MUM1+). These tumors were clonally related. BCL2 expression and MYC rearrangement were not related to changes in the cell of origin (COO) in either case. In conclusion, changes in the COO in DLBCL may not be uncommon. Therefore, investigation of the COO in other sites or at relapse may be needed if new drugs with different indications for each COO are developed.
Thrombocytopenia is a frequent complication in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Differentiating autoimmune thrombocytopenia from thrombocytopenia due to bone marrow infiltration is necessary for appropriate treatment, but sometimes difficult. Here we report a 60-year-old male patient with CLL who had achieved complete response after treatment with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab two years prior to presentation. He was admitted with severe thrombocytopenia that was unresponsive to intravenous immunoglobulin. Imaging studies revealed systemic enlarged lymph nodes and bone marrow aspiration was hypercellular with > 95% lymphocytes and scant megakaryocytes. Acalabrutinib 200 mg/day was administered for the treatment of CLL exacerbation. A gradual decrease in CLL cells and recovery of megakaryocytes in bone marrow were observed, but platelet counts remained low. Systemic administration of prednisolone 0.5 mg/kg, in addition to acalabrutinib, was started, considering the contribution of autoimmune thrombocytopenia; platelet recovery was rapid and sustained for more than a year. Even if bone marrow examination suggested thrombocytopenia due to direct leukemic infiltration, it is difficult to exclude the possibility of concomitant immunogenic thrombocytopenia. We conclude that for CLL patients with severe thrombocytopenia, repeating bone marrow examination and concurrent immunosuppressive therapies and treatment of the underlying CLL may be beneficial.
Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a medical emergency. The diagnosis of APL requires morphological examination, cytochemistry, immunophenotyping, and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for PML::RARA or its variants. However, due to the rapid development of complications, diagnosis often relies on morphology and cytochemistry for early treatment. Herein, we describe a 72-year-old gentleman who presented with pancytopenia diagnosed as acute promyelocytic leukemia with an unusual morphology. The bone marrow smear showed 80% myelocyte-like cells with prominent granules and maturation arrest, with an occasional neutrophil. On careful re-examination of the peripheral smear and bone marrow, an occasional poorly preserved cell with a bundle of Auer rods was identified. Cytochemistry for MPO was strongly positive in abnormal promyelocytes and flow cytometry showed positivity for MPO, CD13, CD33, and CD117 and was negative for CD34 and HLA-DR. Cytogenetics showed a complex karyotype of 45,XY, -14, t(15;17)(q24;21)t(14;21)(q11.2;p13)/ 45, XY, idem, add(5)(q35)/ 45,X,-Y. RT-PCR for PML-RARA was positive for the bcr-3 transcript and FISH was positive for t(15;17) (q24;q21). The take home point from our case is to look for the presence of cells with bundle of Auer rods whenever there is pancytopenia with the presence of myelocyte-like cells with prominent granulations.