Back to Homepage

Case 106 - Discussion

Uploaded: 2009-10-30, Updated: 2009-10-30

Diagnosis: Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma

This case showed predominantly larger marginal zone-like cells with minimal central smaller tumor cells.


Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma


  • Also called splenic lymphoma with villous lymphocytes.

  • Most patients > 50 years old, M=F.

  • Locations: spleen, splenic hilar lymph nodes, bone marrow and peripheral blood, maybe liver. Rarely extranodal or  peripheral lymph nodes.

  • Autoimmune thrombocytopenia, anemia, PB villous lymphocytes.

  • Cases with plasmacytic differentiation often present with monoclonal serum disorders and autoimmune disorders, including hemolytic anemia.


  • Mixed mantle-zone and marginal-zone involvement: the tumor cells in the center are small and atypical with effacement of the normal mantle zone and colonization of the germinal center; the tumor cells in the peripheral (the marginal zone) are medium in size with pale cytoplasm and oval nucleus with dispersed chromatin;

  • The tumor cells are centrocyte-like, monocytoid, lymphoplasmacytic, and < 20% immunoblasts;

  • Always involves red pulp.

  • PB: short polar villi.


  • CD20+, CD79a+, CD5-, CD23-, CD10-, CD43-, BCL1-, CD103-, annexin A1-, IgM+,  and IgD (dim),


  • CLL/SLL: less cytoplasm, more regular nuclei, more condensed chromatin, proliferative center, CD5+, CD23+.
  • Mantle cell lymphoma: CD5+, BCL1+.
  • Hair cell leukemia: red pulp involvement, blood lake, circumferential villi, CD103+, annexin A1+.


  • Del(7q31-32 ) of CDK6 gene may be associated with transformation.
  • No t(11;18).


  • Indolent even with bone marrow involvement.
  • Del(7q31-32 ) and unmutated IGHV gene are associated with unfavorable prognosis.

REFERENCES: WHO Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues, Fourth Edition. 2008.