The stromal cell marker SPARC predicts for survival in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma treated with rituximab

Paul N. Meyer, Kai Fu, Timothy Greiner, Lynette Smith, Jan Delabie, Randy Gascoyne, German Ott, Andreas Rosenwald, Rita Braziel, Elias Campo, Julie Vose, Georg Lenz, Louis Staudt, Wing Chan, Dennis D. Weisenburger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The cellular composition of the tumor microenvironment may affect survival in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). We performed immunostains for 2 stromal cell markers, CD68 and SPARC (secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine), in 262 patients with DLBCL treated with rituximab and cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) or CHOP-like therapies. Patients with any SPARC+ cells in the microenvironment had a significantly longer overall survival, and patients with high SPARC positivity in the microenvironment also had a significantly longer event-free survival. Survival differences were mainly due to the prognostic effect of SPARC+ cells in activated B-cell (ABC)-type DLBCL, with no effect found in the germinal center B-cell-type DLBCL. Of clinical features examined, only the number of extranodal sites was significantly associated with SPARC expression. Multivariate analysis revealed that SPARC expression predicted patient survival independent of the International Prognostic Index or tumor cell of origin. SPARC expression in the microenvironment of DLBCL can be used for prognostic purposes, determining a subgroup of patients with ABC DLBCL who have significantly longer survival. More aggressive chemotherapy protocols should be considered for patients with ABC DLBCL without SPARC+ stromal cells. CD68 expression by cells in the microenvironment did not predict survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • CD68
  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • Microenvironment
  • Prognosis
  • Stromal cells
  • Tumor markers, biological

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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