Several morphologic variants of ALK+ anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) are recognized. The small cell (SC) and lymphohistiocytic (LH) variants are reported to be associated with poorer outcome in children with ALK + ALCL. In this study of 102 adults with ALK + ALCL, there were 18 (18%) cases of SC and/or LH variants. Patients with SC/LH ALK + ALCL more often had peripheral blood involvement than patients with non-SC/LH neoplasms (60% vs 0%, p = 0.02). There were no other significant differences in clinical features between patients with SC/LH versus non-SC/LH ALK + ALCL. Compared with non-SC/LH cases of ALK + ALCL, neoplasms with SC/LH features were more often positive for CD2 (92% vs. 36%, p = 0.0007), CD3 (81% vs. 15%, p = 0.0001), CD7 (80% vs. 37%, p = 0.03), and CD8 (54% vs. 7%, p = 0.0006). There were no other significant differences in the immunophenotype between SC/LH and non-SC/LH ALK + ALCL cases. The initial chemotherapy regimens and the response rates were similar between patients with ALK + ALCL with SC/LH patterns versus those with non-SC/LH patterns. After a median follow-up of 30.8 months (range, 0.3–208 months), patients with high (>3) International Prognostic Index (IPI) scores had significantly shorter overall survival than patients with low (<3) IPI scores (p = 0.003). However, there was no significant difference in overall or progression-free survival between patients with SC/LH versus non-SC/LH ALK + ALCL (p = 0.99 and p = 0.94, respectively). We conclude that, in adults with ALK + ALCL, SC and LH variants are associated with peripheral blood involvement and a CD8 + immunophenotype with retention of T-cell markers (CD2, CD3, and CD7). However, in contrast with children with ALK + ALCL, SC and LH variants appear to have no impact on prognosis in adults with ALK + ALCL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine