Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma: a distinct clinicopathologic entity of cytotoxic gamma delta T-cell origin

  1. CB Cooke,
  2. L Krenacs,
  3. M Stetler-Stevenson,
  4. TC Greiner,
  5. M Raffeld,
  6. DW Kingma,
  7. L Abruzzo,
  8. C Frantz,
  9. M Kaviani, and
  10. ES Jaffe
  1. Hematopathology Section, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892–1500, USA.

Abstract

We identified eight cases of T-cell lymphoma with evidence of a gamma delta phenotype over a 13-year period. Seven of these cases conformed to a distinct clinicopathologic entity of hepatosplenic gamma delta T- cell lymphoma. Nearly all of these patients were young adult males (five of seven), with a median age at presentation of 20 years. They presented with marked hepatosplenomegaly, without lymphadenopathy or significant peripheral blood lymphocytosis. Thrombocytopenia was seen in all patients, and five of seven were mildly anemic. The clinical course was aggressive, and despite multiagent chemotherapy, the median survival duration was less than 1 year. The morphologic findings were uniform; a monomorphic population of medium-sized lymphoid cells with moderately clumped chromatin and a rim of pale cytoplasm infiltrated the sinusoids of the spleen, liver, and bone marrow. The cells had a characteristic immunophenotype: CD2+, CD3+, CD4-, CD5-, CD7+, CD16+, CD57-, CD25-, T-cell receptor (TCR)delta +, beta F1-. CD8 was positive in four of seven cases tested, and CD56 was positive in five of six. All cases expressed the cytotoxic granule-associated protein, TIA1, but perforin was detected in only one case. All cases with assessable DNA had a TCR gamma gene rearrangement, and lacked Epstein-Barr virus sequences. Isochromosome 7q was identified in two cases with cytogenetic information. The one case of cutaneous gamma delta T-cell lymphoma differed in its clinical manifestations, histologic appearance, and immunophenotype. We conclude that hepatosplenic gamma delta T-cell lymphoma is a distinct clinicopathologic entity derived from cytotoxic gamma delta T cells, and should be distinguished from other lymphomas of T-cell and natural-killer cell (NK)-like T-cell derivation.