Malignant lymphoma of the spleen in Japan: A clinicopathological analysis of 115 cases


Kei Shimizu-Kohno, MD, Department of Neurology, Hematology, Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetology, School of Medicine, Yamagata University. 2-2-2 Iidanishi, Yamagata 990-9585, Japan. Email:


Primary splenic lymphoma is rare, but malignant lymphoma often produces a lesion in the spleen as part of systemic disease. The frequency of splenic malignant lymphoma in Japan is unknown. We classified 184 specimens of the spleen according to the World Health Organization Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues, 4th edition (2008). Of the 184 specimens, 115 were determined to be lymphoid neoplasm (62.5%). The most common subtype of lymphoid neoplasm was diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) (46 cases), followed by splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL) (28 cases), follicular lymphoma (11 cases), splenic B-cell lymphoma, unclassifiable (SBL-U) (6 cases) and peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified (4 cases). In the SBL-U subtype, 5 of 6 cases were splenic diffuse red pulp small B-cell lymphoma, and one case was the hairy cell leukemia variant. Analysis of clinical features revealed that patients with DLBCL had a higher age, high lactate dehydrogenase and tumor formation in the spleen. On the other hand, it was found that patients with SMZL had splenomegaly but no discrete tumor formation. Most of the patients with SBL-U presented with thrombocytopenia, bone marrow involvement, and advanced stage. Our study revealed the frequency and clinical features of splenic malignant lymphoma in Japan.