Development of follicular dendritic cell sarcoma in hyaline-vascular Castleman’s disease of the nasopharynx: tracing its evolution by sequential biopsies
Aims: Hyaline-vascular Castleman’s disease (HVCD) and follicular dendritic cell (FDC) sarcoma occurring in the nasopharynx are both extremely rare. We report the first case of transformation of the former into the latter as documented by sequential biopsies. The steps involved in the transformation were described in detail and the possible role of p53 studied.
Methods and results: The patient presented at the age of 23 years with nasopharyngeal HVCD. Hyaline- vascular Castleman’s disease with FDC overgrowth was diagnosed in a recurrence 8 years later, and a frank FDC sarcoma developed at the same site 11 years after initial presentation. The patient remained disease-free 3 years after excision and adjuvant chemotherapy. The FDC sarcoma comprised swirling fascicles of spindly cells with indistinct cell borders. The tumour cells expressed the FDC markers CD21, CD35 and CNA.42 and in-situ hybridization for Epstein–Barr virus-encoded RNAs was negative. Over-expression of p53 protein was observed in the FDC sarcoma and an increased number of weakly p53-positive spindly cells could also be demonstrated in the HVCD specimen. This finding suggested a possible role of p53 in the evolution from HVCD to FDC sarcoma. Critical analysis of the literature shows that, among the 13 reported cases of FDC sarcoma associated with Castleman’s disease, possible progression from the latter to the former is documented in only two cases.
Conclusions: The sequential changes observed in the current case provide further evidence to strengthen the role of HVCD as a possible precursor of FDC sarcoma. There is a possible role of p53 in the transformation process but confirmation by future studies is needed.