, Volume 450, Issue 5, pp 493-502,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 13 Mar 2007

Frequency and diagnostic patterns of lymphomas in liver biopsies with respect to the WHO classification


The recent World Health Organization (WHO) classification of hematopoietic and lymphoid tissue tumors represents the first worldwide consensus classification of these malignancies. However, the applicability of this classification to a representative number of hepatic lymphomas in liver biopsy specimens has not yet been investigated. The frequency and infiltration pattern of a series of 205 liver biopsies with lymphoma manifestations was analyzed with the aid of immunohistochemical and molecular pathological analyses. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) was by far the most frequent entity, comprising 45% of the cases analyzed. Using a previously published immunohistochemical algorithm, 35% of 80 DLBCL were assigned to a germinal center B-cell-like (GCB) and 65% to a non-GCB group. Most B-cell lymphoma entities involving the liver revealed a characteristic infiltration pattern. Diagnostically challenging entities were T-cell-rich B-cell lymphomas, anaplastic large cell lymphomas and peripheral T-cell lymphomas, which frequently required additional molecular clonality assessment. Overall, the percentage of T-cell lymphomas in the liver (12%) was higher as compared to other extranodal sites except for the skin and the small intestine. This study provides relevant data on the distribution of hepatic lymphomas and demonstrates the applicability of the WHO classification proposing a diagnostic algorithm for liver biopsies.

Christoph Loddenkemper and Thomas Longerich contributed equally to the work.