From the archives of MD Anderson Cancer Center: Intravascular large B-cell lymphoma with numerous circulating lymphoma cells

Lianqun Qiu, Sa A. Wang, Francisco Vega, Joseph D. Khoury, Zhenya Tang, Sofia Garces, L. Jeffrey Medeiros, Beenu Thakral

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Intravascular large B-cell lymphoma (IVLBCL) is a rare, clinically aggressive form of large B-cell lymphoma that is preferentially located within blood vessel lumina. Despite its intravascular location, a leukemic phase of disease seems to be uncommon. After encountering a patient with IVLBCL with numerous circulating lymphoma cells, we reviewed the literature and identified 6 patients with IVLBCL who had numerous circulating lymphoma cells (defined by ≥10% lymphoma cells in peripheral blood). The percentage of circulating lymphoma cells in this patient cohort was variable, with a median of 36% (range, 14% - 87%), Bone marrow was involved in all 5 patients assessed. Elevation of liver transaminases preferentially affecting aspartate aminotransferase (AST, 3/3, 100%), hepatosplenomegaly (4/5, 80%), thrombocytopenia (100%), CD5 positivity (100%) and monotypic lambda light chain predominance (3/4, 75%) were common features. Conventional cytogenetic analysis performed in 4 patients revealed a complex karyotype with multiple abnormalities particularly deletions and copy number aberrations involving chromosomes 6q and 18. The clinical courses of these patients were highly variable, but overall there was a high mortality rate of 75% with 18-months of follow-up. Due to the rarity of IVLBCL, along with its variable clinical manifestations and subtle pathologic changes, the diagnosis is often delayed which may contribute to the poor outcome of IVLBCL patients. Recognition that this disease can present rarely with a leukemic phase further expands our knowledge of the clinicopathologic spectrum of IVLBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number151934
JournalAnnals of Diagnostic Pathology
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow
  • Immunophenotype
  • Intravascular large B-cell lymphoma
  • Karyotype
  • Peripheral blood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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