Frequent loss of CD10 expression in follicular lymphoma with leukaemic presentation


Malays J Pathol. 2020 Aug;42(2):237-243.


INTRODUCTION: Follicular lymphoma (FL) is usually a nodal lymphoma expressing CD10, rarely with leukaemic presentation (FL-LP).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We searched for FL-LP in our institution from 2000 to 2018 and characterised the neoplastic cells by flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization. Thirteen (6.1%) of 212 FL cases were FL-LP, all de novo neoplasms. The leukaemic cells were small in 12 cases and large in one. All had concurrent FL, mostly (92%; 12/13) low-grade. The single case with large leukaemic cells had a concurrent primary splenic low-grade FL and a double-hit large B-cell lymphoma in the marrow.

RESULTS: CD10 was expressed in the leukaemic cells in 38% (5/13) cases by flow cytometry and in 77% (10/13) cases in tumours (p= 0.0471). IGH/BCL2 reciprocal translocation was identified in 85% (11/13) cases. Most patients were treated with chemotherapy. In a median follow-up time of 36 months, nine patients were in complete remission. The 2- and 5-year survival rates were at 100% and 83%, respectively. In this study, we characterised a series of de novo FL-LP in Taiwan. All patients had concurrent nodal and/or tissue tumours, which might suggest that these patients seek medical help too late.

CONCLUSION: The lower CD10 expression rate by flow cytometry than by immunohistochemistry might be due to different epitopes for these assays. Alternatively, loss of CD10 expression might play a role in the pathogenesis of leukaemic change. The clinical course of FL-LP could be aggressive, but a significant proportion of the patients obtained complete remission with chemotherapy.