Immunohistochemistry with anti-MAL antibody and RNAscope with MAL probes are complementary techniques for diagnosis of primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma


J Clin Pathol. 2020 Aug 24:jclinpath-2020-206747. doi: 10.1136/jclinpath-2020-206747. Online ahead of print.


AIMS: Primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBL) diagnosis can be challenging on needle biopsies. Robust techniques are needed to ensure diagnosis of this lymphoma which is highly sensitive to recently developed therapy protocols.

METHODS: In this study, we sought to determine precise PMBL phenotype, compared with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma not otherwise specified, by combining immunohistochemistry with anti-MAL antibody and RNA in situ hybridisation (RNAscope) with specific MAL probes.

RESULTS: The overall MAL positivity level reached 93% (14/15) of cases of PMBL. Among the 15 cases enrolled in the study, 11 were undoubtedly positive for MAL immunostaining whereas 13 were positive by RNA in situ hybridisation. Interestingly, one case that was negative by in situ hybridisation turned out to be positive by immunohistochemistry.

CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our results demonstrate that in situ detection of both MAL transcripts and protein are complementary and increase the sensitivity and specificity of PMBL diagnosis.