AbstractBACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Large granular lymphocytes derive from two major lineages: one expressing the CD3 surface antigen (T-lymphocytes), and the other lacking this marker (NK-cells). Although developmental overlaps between natural killer cells and T-cells have been described, malignancies derived from these two cell types are considered as distinct lymphoid disorders. DESIGN AND METHODS: We report the case of a 30-year old man affected by a lymphoma/leukemia syndrome presenting with hepatosplenic lymphoma which rapidly transformed into aggressive NK-leukemia. Extensive flow cytometry studies and molecular analysis were repeated during the course of the disease, and showed an unexpected changing pattern. RESULTS: At diagnosis, flow cytometry analysis showed the co-existence of two cell populations, one CD56(+), CD3(+), TcRgd(+), and the other CD56(+), CD3(-) and TcRgd(-). Molecular analysis showed that the TcR genes had the same clonally rearranged pattern involving b, g and d genes in both populations. At disease relapse and during the terminal refractory phase, only CD3(-) cells were present. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: This is an unusual case of CD56(+) aggressive lymphoma/leukemia characterized by the clonal expansion of two phenotypically different cell populations, variably balanced during the course of the disease. The presence of the same TcR genomic rearrangement suggests the origin from a common progenitor able to differentiate along both T- and NK-pathways.
Figures & Tables
Vol. 85 No. 5 (2000): May, 2000 : Case Reports
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
Statistics from Altmetric.com