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Keywords:

  • bone marrow;
  • T-cell lymphoma;
  • immunohistochemistry;
  • T-cell leukaemia

Summary

Peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL) account for 10–15% of all lymphoproliferative disorders in the western hemisphere. In PTCL, bone marrow biopsy is performed to establish the diagnosis, rule out other pathology, assess the extent of disease and monitor treatment response. The frequency and histology of bone marrow involvement varies greatly between different clinicopathological entities recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) classification, reflecting the differences in the underlying biology. Some lymphomas, such as angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, show nodular and/or interstitial pattern of infiltration with accompanying reactive changes. Others, including hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma and large granular lymphocyte leukaemia, are characterized by intrasinusoidal infiltration. In many instances the pathological features are subtle and immunohistochemical and molecular studies are required for the diagnosis. Histological appearances may overlap with a variety of reactive T-cell proliferations and other malignancies. Furthermore PTCL frequently induce secondary changes in the marrow that may obscure the neoplastic infiltrate. The diagnosis often requires critical integration of the information obtained from clinical features, peripheral blood, bone marrow aspirate and biopsy findings. In this article we review the histopathology of bone marrow biopsy in PTCL within the context of the new WHO classification.