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Open Access Research

Identification of genuine primary pulmonary NK cell lymphoma via clinicopathologic observation and clonality assay

Li Gong1, Long-Xiao Wei2, Gao-Sheng Huang1, Wen-Dong Zhang1, Lu Wang1, Shao-Jun Zhu1, Xiu-Juan Han1, Li Yao1, Miao Lan1, Yan-Hong Li1* and Wei Zhang1*

Author Affiliations

1 The Helmholtz Sino-German Laboratory for Cancer Research, Department of Pathology, Tangdu Hospital, the Fourth Military Medical University, Shaanxi Xi’an 710038, China

2 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Tangdu Hospital, the Fourth Military Medical University, Shaanxi Xi’an 710038, China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:140  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-140

Published: 19 August 2013

Abstract

Extranodal natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type, is an uncommon lymphoma associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It most commonly involves the nasal cavity and upper respiratory tract. Primary pulmonary NK/T cell lymphoma is extremely rare. If a patient with a NK or T-cell tumor has an unusual reaction to treatment or an unusual prognosis, it is wise to differentiate NK from T-cell tumors. The clinicopathologic characteristics, immunophenotype, EBV in situ hybridization, and T cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangement of primary pulmonary NK cell lymphoma from a 73-year-old Chinese woman were investigated and the clonal status was determined using female X-chromosomal inactivation mosaicism and polymorphisms at the phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) gene. The lesion showed the typical histopathologic characteristics and immunohistochemical features of NK/T cell lymphoma. However, the sample was negative for TCR gene rearrangement. A clonality assay demonstrated that the lesion was monoclonal. It is concluded that this is the first recorded case of genuine primary pulmonary NK cell lymphoma. The purpose of the present work is to recommend that pathologists carefully investigate the whole lesion to reduce the likelihood that primary pulmonary NK cell lymphoma will be misdiagnosed as an infectious lesion. In addition, TCR gene rearrangement and clonal analysis, which is based on female X-chromosomal inactivation mosaicism and polymorphisms at PGK and androgen receptor (AR) loci, were found to play important roles in differentiating NK cell lymphoma from T cell lymphoma.

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/5205300349457729 webcite

Keywords:
Extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma; Lung; Immunophenotype; TCR gene rearrangement; Clonality