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December 2020

Primary Mediastinal Large B-cell Lymphoma

Reviewers: Dharam Ramnani, MD |


Primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMLBCL) is a rare, aggressive, distinct subtype of large B-cell lymphoma localized in anterosuperior mediastinum. It shares clinical, morphologic, and molecular genetic features with nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma.

It makes up 2-3% of non-Hodgkin lymphomas and affects young adults with a female predilection. Patients develop compressive symptoms, such as cough and dyspnea, from the rapidly growing mediastinal mass. About 20-30% have superior vena cava syndrome. Pleural and pericardial effusion develop in 30-50%. Surrounding thoracic structures may be invaded. Bone marrow is rarely involved. Extranodal sites may be invaded in advanced stages.

The tumor cells are highly variable, medium-to-large size, with irregular or multilobated nuclei and pale or clear cytoplasm in a sclerotic stroma. Reed-Sternberg-like cells may be present.

Immunophenotype: positive for pan B-cell antigens (CD19, CD20, CD22, CD79a), no surface or cytoplasmic immunoglobulins, PDL1+, PDL2+, PAX5%, CD30+ (variable, heterogenous), IRF4/MUM1+, BCL2, BCL6, PU.1, OCT2; variable positivity for CD15, CD10, CD11c, CD23, MYC; negative for EBV. MAL gene (chromosome 2q) is + in 70%.

Ig heavy and light chain genes are clonally rearranged. TCR genes are germline. Rearrangements of CCND1, BCL2, BCL6, and MYC are rare/absent. Three molecular pathways are implicated in the pathogenesis - NF-κB signaling pathway, JAK-STAT signaling cascade, and immune privilege.

References:
Dabrowska-Iwanicka A & Walewski J. Primary Mediastinal Large B-cell Lymphoma. Curr Hematol Malig Rep (2014) 9:273-283.
Lees, C. et al. Biology and therapy of primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma : current status and future directions. British Journal of Haematology, 2019, 185, 25-41.
Jaffe, E. S. et al (2017). Hematopathology - Second Edition. Philadelphia, PA. Elsevier.
Swerdlow, S. H. et al (2017). WHO Classification of Tumors of Hematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues, Revised 4th Edition; IARC, Lyon, France.