Journal of Hematopathology

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 83-87

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Commentary on the WHO classification of tumors of lymphoid tissues (2008): aggressive B-cell lymphomas

  • Olga Balague PonzAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute
  • , German OttAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus and Institute of Clinical Pharmacology
  • , Robert P. HasserjianAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
  • , Kojo S. J. Elenitoba-JohnsonAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, University of Michigan
  • , Laurence de LevalAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, C.H.U Sart Tilman, University of Liège
  • , Daphne de JongAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute Email author 


In the novel WHO classification 2008, the classification of aggressive B-cell lymphoma has been revised for several categories with the aim to define “clean” entities. Within large B-cell lymphoma, a few distinct clinico-pathological entities have been recognized with more clinically defined entities than pathologically defined ones. The majority of known morphological variations were not considered to merit more than classification as a variant of DLBCL, not otherwise specified. Specifically, a biological subgrouping of DLBCL on the basis of molecular (activated B-cell versus germinal center B-cell) or immunophenotypic (CD5+) features was felt to be too immature to include at this stage. The role of EBV in aggressive B-cell lymphoma has been explored in more depth with the recognition of several novel and re-defined clinico-pathological entities. Also, in these diseases, clinical definitions play a very dominant role in the WHO classification 2008.


Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma Clinico-pathological entity EBV Immunodeficiency Classification WHO