Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (excluding anaplastic large-cell lymphoma): Results from the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma classification project

T. Rüdiger, D. D. Weisenburger, J. R. Anderson, J. O. Armitage, J. Diebold, K. A. MacLennan, B. N. Nathwani, F. Ullrich, H. K. Müller-Hermelink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

383 Scopus citations


Background: Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) is rare in most parts of the world. Therefore, we have evaluated the 96 cases of PTCL diagnosed within the Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Classification Project (NHLCP) (1378 cases) for their geographical distribution, pathologic features and diagnostic reliability, as well as clinical presentation and outcome. Materials and methods: Diagnoses of all cases were rendered independently by five experienced hematopathologists based on morphology only, and after introduction of the immunophenotype and clinical data. Divergent diagnoses were jointly discussed and a final consensus diagnosis was established in each case. Reliability of the diagnoses was evaluated statistically, and the clinical features and outcome were analyzed according to the consensus diagnoses. Results: Seven per cent of all non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) cases reviewed were classified as PTCL and the frequency varied from 1.5% to 18.3% in different countries. The interobserver agreement with the consensus diagnosis of PTCL was 86% in the Revised European-American Lymphoma (REAL) classification, but the designation of subtypes was less reliable. Diagnostic reliability improved from 41% to 86% after immunophenotyping, but did not improve further with the addition of detailed clinical data. Clinically, angiocentric nasal lymphoma presented in young females (median age 49 years) at extranodal sites, but with few adverse risk factors, whereas angioimmunoblastic lymphoma presented most often in older males (median age 65 years) at nodal and extranodal sites with numerous risk factors. The 5-year overall and failure-free survivals for patients with PTCL treated with doxorubicin (Adriamycin)-containing regimens were only 26% and 20%, respectively. Both failure-free and overall survival were strongly correlated with the performance status and International Prognostic Index scores at presentation, but differences in survival were not observed between the major histological types. However, within the PTCL 'not otherwise specified' category, but not angioimmunoblastic lymphoma, the number of transformed blasts was prognostically relevant. Conclusions: PTCLs can be diagnosed reliably by experienced hematopathologists, but immunophenotyping is absolutely necessary. Currently, all types of PTCL should be considered high-grade lymphomas. An increased ability to distinguish T-lymphocyte subsets is needed in order to better subclassify the PTCLs for therapeutic and prognostic purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Clinicopathologic correlations
  • Diagnostic reliability
  • Peripheral T-cell lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (excluding anaplastic large-cell lymphoma): Results from the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma classification project'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this