Splenic marginal zone lymphoma
|Splenic marginal zone lymphoma|
|Classification and external resources|
Splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL) is a lymphoma made up of B-cells that replace the normal architecture of the white pulp of the spleen. The neoplastic cells are both small lymphocytes and larger, transformed blasts, and they invade the mantle zone of splenic follicles and erode the marginal zone, ultimately invading the red pulp of the spleen. Frequently, the bone marrow and splenic hilar lymph nodes are involved along with the peripheral blood. The neoplastic cells circulating in the peripheral blood are termed villous lymphocytes due to their characteristic appearance.
Under older classification systems, the following names were used:
|Rappaport||well-differentiated lymphocytic lymphoma|
|Lukes-Collins||small lymphocytic lymphoma|
|Working Formulation||small lymphocytic lymphoma|
|FAB||splenic lymphoma with circulating villous lymphocytes|
The cell of origin is postulated to be a post-germinal center B-cell with an unknown degree of differentiation.
With splenic involvement a requirement for a diagnosis of SMZL, splenomegaly is seen in almost all patients, commonly without lymphadenopathy. Aside from the uniform involvement of the spleen, the bone marrow is frequently positive in patients with SMZL. Nodal and extranodal involvement are rare.
Autoimmune thrombocytopenia and anemia sometimes seen in patients with SMZL. Circulating villous lymphocytes are sometimes observed in peripheral blood samples. A monoclonal paraprotein is detected in a third of patients without hypergammaglobulinemia or hyperviscosity.
Reactive germinal centers in splenic white pulp are replaced by small neoplastic lymphocytes that efface the mantle zone and ultimately blend in with the marginal zone with occasional larger neoplastic cells that resemble blasts. The red pulp is always involved, with both nodules of larger neoplastic cells and sheets of the small neoplastic lymphocytes. Other features that may be seen include sinus invasion, epithelial histocytes, and plasmacytic differentiation of neoplastic cells.
Three-quarters of patients survive five or more years; more than half of patients with SMZL survive more than a decade after diagnosis.
Patients who have a hemoglobin level of less than 12 g/dL, a lactate dehydrogenase level higher than normal, and/or a blood serum albumin levels of less than 3.5 g/dL are likely to have more an aggressive disease course and a shorter survival. However, even high-risk patients have even odds of living for five years after diagnosis.
Some genetic mutations, such as mutations in NOTCH2, are also correlated with shorter survival.
The relevant markers that define the immunophenotype for SMZL are shown in the table to the right.  The lack of CD5 expression is helpful in the discrimination between SMZL and chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma, and the lack of CD10 expression argues against follicular lymphoma. Mantle cell lymphoma is excluded due to the lack of CD5 and cyclin-D1 expression.
Clonal rearrangements of the immunoglobulin genes (heavy and light chains) are frequently seen. The deletion 7q21-32 is seen in 40% of SMZL patients, and translocations of the CDK6 gene located at 7q21 have also been reported.
Less than 1% of all lymphomas are splenic marginal zone lymphomas and it is postulated that SMZL may represent a large fraction of unclasssifiable CD5- chronic lymphocytic leukemias. The typical patient is over the age of 50, and gender preference has been described.
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