B-cell lymphoma associated with chronic lymphatic leukaemia: two cases with contrasting aggressive and indolent behaviour


Correspondence to: Dr R.C. Ratnavel Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury, Bucks. HP21 8AL, U.K. E-mail: ratnavel@epulse.net


The term Richter's syndrome is used to describe the transformation of chronic lymphatic leukaemia (CLL) into a high-grade systemic lymphoma and is associated with a poor prognosis. We have undertaken detailed molecular studies in two patients with cutaneous B-cell lymphoma (CBCL) and CLL. Patient 1 exhibited a low-grade CBCL with different immunoglobulin gene rearrangements in blood and skin. By contrast, patient 2 showed identical gene rearrangements, confirmed by gene sequencing, and died within 4 months of presentation. The latter patient fulfilled the criteria for a diagnosis of cutaneous Richter's syndrome, whereas the former patient demonstrated the coincidence of CLL with a primary CBCL. Our results highlight the importance of gene rearrangement studies with sequencing for the accurate diagnosis of cutaneous Richter's syndrome.