Immunophenotypic and histological characterisation of 109 cases of feline lymphosarcoma



Objective To determine and analyse the immunophenotype and histological appearance of naturally occurring cases of lymphosarcoma in Australian cats.

Design A prospective multi-institutional study of naturally occurring feline lymphosarcoma.

Methods One hundred and eighteen cats were referred for diagnosis and/or management of suspected lymphosarcoma. Tissue samples for histopathological analysis and immunophenotyping were collected as biopsies or at necropsy from 109 cases. Histological classification of the neoplasms followed the Working Formulation Classification System. Four multi-species cross-reactive antibodies were used to classify tumours as having a B or T cell phenotype.

Results Seventy-six (70%) cases were B cell tumours and 28 (26%) were T cell tumours. The remaining 5 (4%) specimens failed to stain with the four antibodies. Histologically, 11 (10%) cases were classified as low-grade, 72 (66%) were medium-grade and 26 (24%) were high-grade tumours. There were no significant associations between age and either histological grade or immunophenotype. Mediastinal and leukaemic cases were significantly more likely to be T cell tumours (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively).

Conclusions In contrast to previously documented studies in the cat, the majority of cases of lymphosarcoma were of B cell phenotype and intermediate histological grade. Based on our data, the histological phenotype of lymphosarcoma is unlikely to predict immunotype, nor are cases of certain immunotypes likely to be of specific histological subtype. Considered in relation to previous reports, the findings suggest that epidemiological factors operating in these cats to produce lymphosarcoma may be different to those operating in North American and UK cat populations.