Most primary central nervous system diffuse large B-cell lymphomas occurring in immunocompetent individuals belong to the nongerminal center subtype: A retrospective analysis of 31 cases

Eyas M. Hattab, Sarah E. Martin, Sohaib M. Al-Khatib, William J. Kupsky, Gail H. Vance, Ryan A. Stohler, Magdalena Czader, Mousa A. Al-Abbadi

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39 Scopus citations


Primary central nervous system lymphomas are rare neoplasms characterized by a dismal prognosis relative to other extranodal lymphomas. Approximately 98% of primary central nervous system lymphomas are of B-cell origin, and most belong to the diffuse large B-cell type. Recently, diffuse large B-cell lymphomas have been subcategorized into germinal center and nongerminal center types based on gene expression profiles and immunohistochemical expression of CD10, Bcl-6, and MUM1. Studies have shown that the overall survival rate of the germinal center group is better than that of the nongerminal center lymphomas. In this study, 31 cases of primary central nervous system lymphomas of the diffuse large B-cell type were retrieved, reviewed, and immunostained for CD10, Bcl-6, MUM1, and Ki-67. Subclassification was carried out as described earlier, where CD10 and/or Bcl-6 positivity and negativity for MUM1 were considered characteristic of germinal center subtype and the opposite expression of nongerminal center subtype. Furthermore, the proliferative activity was semiquantitatively assessed using percent positive cells staining with Ki-67. Of the 31 cases examined, 26 (84%) were found to belong to the nongerminal center type. The Ki-67 index in these 26 cases ranged from 30 to 90% (mean, 69%). Five cases were categorized as the germinal center subtype. They had an Ki-67 index between 70 and 90% (mean, 78%). Interestingly, none of our patients were known to be HIV positive. One patient had a 10-year history of orthotopic liver transplant. We also performed fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis on formalin-fixed material and found that 38% of the cases where tissue was available had abnormalities of MYC/IGH and/or IGH/BCL2. We conclude that most primary central nervous system diffuse large B-cell lymphomas are of the nongerminal center origin. Regardless of the germinal center status, all cases showed a high proliferative rate. A statistically significant difference in the overall survival between the two groups was not seen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010



  • Central nervous system
  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • Germinal center
  • Immunocompetent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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