PMCCPMCCPMCC

Search tips
Search criteria 

Advanced

 
Logo of casrepmedCase Reports in Medicine
 
Case Rep Med. 2010; 2010: 296523.
Published online 2010 May 31. doi:  10.1155/2010/296523
PMCID: PMC2879550

Transformation of a Cutaneous Follicle Center Lymphoma to a Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma—An Unusual Presentation

Abstract

Primary cutaneous follicle center lymphoma (PCFCL) is characterized by a proliferation of follicle center cells in the skin. A definitive diagnosis is frequently delayed because of difficulties in interpretation of the histopathologic findings. It has an excellent prognosis with a 5-year survival over 95% and its risk of transformation has not been established. We describe a case report of man with a gastric diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) referred to our clinic because of nodules in the back that had gradually developed over a period of 10 years. A biopsy performed 3 years before was interpreted as reactive follicular hyperplasia. A new skin biopsy revealed a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangements from the initial skin biopsy (PCBCL) and the DLBCL gastric biopsy were studied by polymerase chain reaction and an identical clonal rearrangement was detected which was highly suggestive of a transformation lymphoma.

1. Case Report

Primary cutaneous follicle center lymphoma (PCFCL) is characterized by a proliferation of follicle center cells (centrocytes and centroblasts) with a follicular, follicular and diffuse, or diffuse growth pattern [1]. It shows a predilection for the scalp, forehead, and trunk and dissemination to extracutaneous sites rarely occurs [2]. Transformation of systemic follicular lymphoma (FL) into aggressive non-Hodgkin,s Lymphoma is associated with poor prognosis and has been reported with a wide range of frequency (range between 10%–70%). While the annual risk of transformation of systemic FL is 3%, PCFCL has an excellent prognosis with a 5-year survival over 95% [1] and its risk of transformation has not been established [3].

We describe a case report of a 44-year-old white man with a gastric diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) referred to our clinic by the hematology department because of multiple erythematous to purple, sharply demarcated pruritic nodules in the back that enlarged and coalesced in the previous year originating a tumor measuring 11 × 7 cm in diameter (Figure 1). These lesions had gradually developed over a period of 10 years and a biopsy of one of the nodules was diagnosed in a different hospital as reactive follicular hyperplasia. These findings were interpreted as an inflammatory pseudolymphomatous reaction. He received treatment with tetracyclines and had improvement after sun exposure.

Figure 1
Multiple erythematous to purple, sharply demarcated pruritic nodules in the back that enlarged and coalesced in the last year originating a tumor measuring 11 × 7 cm in diameter with some satellite lesions.

Recently, he was referred for an upper endoscopy because of epigastric pain and weight loss. Endoscopy revealed two gastric ulcers (H. Pylori positive) (Figure 2) and a computer tomography showed both mural thickening of the gastric mucosa and mediastinal and axilar lymphadenopathy. A gastric biopsy revealed a DLBCL (Figures 3(a)3(d)). A bone marrow aspirate and biopsy showed minimal infiltration by low-grade B-cell lymphoma. A new biopsy of the skin lesions was performed and demonstrated diffuse infiltrate of confluent sheets of centroblasts, with many mitotic figures. The cells were CD20+, CD3−, CD30−, and BCL6+ and had a high proliferation rate (Ki67+), features compatible with DLBCL (Figure 4). The peripheral blood analysis revealed: normal beta-2-microglobulin (1,70 mg/L) and elevated LHD (571 U/L) levels. The lymphoma classification was DLBCL stage IV A; International Prognostic Index (IPI): 2.

Figure 2
Endoscopy revealed two gastric ulcers. Biopsy revealed a DLBCL.
Figure 3
Stomach biopsy: (a) H&EX40 (Olympus BX40)—DLBCL, (b) antibody staining CD 20+, (c) antibody staining BCL6+, (d) antibody staining Ki67+.
Figure 4
Skin biopsy 2009: H&EX40 (Olympus BX40) —DLBCL.

On re-examination, the skin biopsy obtained 3 years earlier was BCL2 weakly positive, CD10 negative, CD20 positive, and BCL6 positive and was reclassified as PCFCL (Figure 5). Immunoglobulin heavy chain gene (IgH) rearrangements were studied by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the Biomed2 strategy [4] in the earlier PCFCL and in the subsequent DLBCL biopsies of the skin and stomach, respectively. In each biopsy an identical clonal VH-JH rearrangement was detected using FR1 and FR2 primers: 328 base pairs (bps) and 258 bps, respectively (Figures 6(a)6(b)).

Figure 5
Skin biopsy 2006: (a) H&EX40 (Olympus BX40)—Primary cutaneous follicle center lymphoma, (b) antibody staining CD 20+, (c) antibody staining BCL6+, (d) antibody staining Ki67+.
Figure 6
IgH clonality profiles from the PCFCL skin biopsy (2006) and the DLBCL gastric biopsy (2009). GeneScan results obtained using the BIOMED2: (a) FR1 and FR3 and (b) FR2 VH-JH tubes (peaks in blue: patient and control DNA, peaks in red: TAMRA molecular weight ...

The patient received six cycles of rituximab, cyclophosphamide, adriamycin, vincristine and prednisone (R-CHOP) chemotherapy, and omeprazole (20 mg once a day), with no improvement. Afterwards, he had undergone three different chemotherapy regimens (R-ESHAP, GEMROX, and IFM/VP16) with no response.

2. Discussion

PCFCL morphologic and phenotypic features can be similar or identical to those observed in secondary cutaneous involvement by systemic FL [5]. In our patient we cannot affirm with certainty that the initial lesion was a PCFCL since a complete staging investigation was not performed. However, the clinical history is very suggestive of Crosti,s lymphoma [5, 6]. In fact, as clearly shown in the WHO/EORTC classification of cutaneous lymphomas, PCFCL has many distinct features when compared with nodal FLs, as they are frequently negative for BCL2 and CD10 and only less than 25% of the cases have a BCL2 rearrangement. Thus, the most important diagnostic feature in both lesions is the BCL6+ (as skin marginal lymphomas are frequently BCL6 negative). Detection of an identical clonal VH-JH rearrangement in both biopsies (skin and gastric) obtained at different time points and from different locations is compatible with the presence of the same B cell clone and strongly suggests transformation of the PCFCL into a DLBCL.

PCFCL can infrequently progress into extracutaneous, but transformation into DLBCL has been rarely described [7].

The current case emphasizes that indolent cutaneous PCFCL can transform into high-grade lymphoma with poor outcome. An early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential in the management of PCFCL.

References

1. Swerdlow SH, Campo E, Harris NL, et al. World Health Organization Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and lymphoid Tissues. Lyon, France: IARC Press; 2008.
2. Ziemer M, Bauer HI, Fluhr JW, Kaatz M, Elsner P. Primary cutaneous follicle center lymphoma—‘crosti lymphoma’: what can we learn? American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2008;9(2):133–136. [PubMed]
3. Al-Tourah AJ, Gill KK, Chhanabhai M, et al. Population-based analysis of incidence and outcome of transformed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2008;26(32):5165–5169. [PubMed]
4. van Dongen JJM, Langerak AW, Brüggemann M, et al. Design and standardization of PCR primers and protocols for detection of clonal immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor gene recombinations in suspect lymphoproliferations: report of the BIOMED-2 concerted action BMH4-CT98-3936. Leukemia. 2003;17(12):2257–2317. [PubMed]
5. Cerroni L, Kerl H. Primary cutaneous follicle center cell lymphoma. Leukemia and Lymphoma. 2001;42(5):891–900. [PubMed]
6. Goodlad JR, Krajewski AS, Batstone PJ, et al. Primary cutaneous follicular lymphoma: a clinicopathologic and molecular study of 16 cases in support of a distinct entity. American Journal of Surgical Pathology. 2002;26(6):733–741. [PubMed]
7. Morley NJ, Evans LS, Goepel J, Hancock BW. Transformed follicular lymphoma: the 25-year experience of a UK provincial lymphoma treatment centre. Oncology Reports. 2008;20(4):953–956. [PubMed]

Articles from Case Reports in Medicine are provided here courtesy of Hindawi Publishing Corporation