Clinical significance of follicular lymphoma with monocytoid B cells

Bharat N. Nathwani, James R. Anderson, James O. Armitage, Franco Cavalli, Jacques Diebold, Milton R. Drachenberg, Nancy L. Harris, Kenneth A. Maclennan, H. Konrad Müller-Hermelink, Fred A. Ullrich, Dennis D. Weisenburger

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53 Scopus citations


Although follicular lymphoma (FL) is very common in the Western world, very little information is available regarding the frequency and significance of monocytoid B cells (MBC) in FL. We recently completed a clinicopathologic study of 1,378 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In this study, a research data sheet was designed to conduct research on several types of lymphomas, one part of which was evaluating the presence of intrafollicular clear cells and extrafollicular MBC in 326 cases diagnosed as FL by one of the pathologists (B.N.N.). For each case diagnosed as FL, the presence of intrafollicular clear cells or extrafollicular MBC was scored as pure FL (no intrafollicular clear cells or extrafollicular MBC), FL with intrafollicular clear cells, FL with less than 5% MBC, and FL with greater than 5% MBC. Of 326 cases classified as FL, 252 (77%) had no intrafollicular clear cells or extrafollicular MBC and therefore were called pure FL. In 36 cases (11%), intrafollicular clear cells were seen, but no extrafollicular MBC. There were no clinical differences between such cases and the 252 cases of pure FL. In eight cases of FL (2%), MBC clusters were rare (<5%). In contrast, 30 cases of FL (9%) had a prominent (>5%) proliferation of extrafollicular MBC; these 30 cases had a significantly shorter failure-free survival (P = .001) and overall survival (P = .04) than the 252 cases of pure FL. The shorter survival of these 30 cases appeared to be independent of the international prognostic index (IPI), stage, and treatment. The FFS of this group remained shorter than that of cases with pure FL when the analysis was restricted to patients treated with Adriamycin-containing regimens and either a favorable (0 to 3) IPI score (P = .001) or advanced stage (III/IV) disease (P = .015). In conclusion, FL with a prominent (>5%) MBC component constitutes a substantial proportion (9%) of FL and has distinctive morphology, and these patients have a significantly shorter survival than those with pure FL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-268
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Follucular lymphoma
  • Monocytoid B cell lymphoma
  • Monocytoid B cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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