• peripheral T-cell lymphomas;
  • follicular dendritic cells;
  • malignant lymphomas;
  • classification

Classification of peripheral T-cell lymphomas based on morphological criteria can present problems due to overlap in histological features amongst the subtypes. An immunohistochemical study was designed to study the follicular dendritic cell patterns in 21 cases of peripheral T-cell lymphoma which had been classified using the updated Kiel classification. Three patterns of distribution were observed: 1 follicular dendritic cells not detected (3 cases); 2 follicular dendritic cells restricted to remnant follicle centres (7); 3 follicular dendritic cells present as an expanded network of cells exceeding the confines of germinal centres (11). Ten out of 11 angioimmunoblastic lymphomas showed an expanded network of follicular dendritic cells. The only negative case showed features which, on review, were in keeping with a pleomorphic, medium and large cell lymphoma showing an unusual proliferation of small venules. Other than angioimmunoblastic lymphomas, only one other case showed follicular dendritic cell hyperplasia. This was an unclassified peripheral T-cell lymphoma. We conclude that follicular dendritic cell hyperplasia may be used an an aid to diagnosis of the angioimmunoblastic type of peripheral T-cell lymphoma, and we recommend the routine staining of these cells in typing of T-cell lymphomas to facilitate comparison between centres.