Lymphoblastic lymphoma

Sergio Cortelazzo, Maurilio Ponzoni, Andrés J M Ferreri, Dieter Hoelzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lymphoblastic lymphoma (LBL) is a neoplasm of immature B cells committed to the B-(B-LBL) or T-cell lineage (T-LBL) that accounts for approximately 2% of all lymphomas. From a histopathological point of view, blasts may be encountered in tissue biopsy and/or bone marrow (BM). In tissue sections, LBL is generally characterized by a diffuse or, as in lymph nodes and less commonly, paracortical pattern. Although histological features are usually sufficient to distinguish lymphoblastic from mature B- or T-cell neoplasms, a differential diagnosis with blastoid variant of mantle cell lymphoma, Burkitt lymphoma or myeloid leukemia may arise in some cases. Of greater importance is the characterization of immunophenotype by flow cytometry. In B-LBL, tumour cells are virtually always positive for B cell markers CD19, CD79a and CD22. They are positive for CD10, CD 24, PAX5, and TdT in most cases, while the expression of CD20 and the lineage independent stem cell antigen CD34 is variable and CD45 may be absent. Surface immunoglobulin is usually absent. In T-LBL, neoplastic cells are usually TdT positive and variably express CD1a, CD2, CD3, CD4, CD5, CD7 and CD8. The only reliable lineage-specific is surface CD3. Most B-LBL have clonal rearrangements of the Ig heavy chain or less frequently of light chain genes. T-cell receptor γ or β chain gene rearrangements may be seen in a significant number of cases, but rearrangements are not helpful for lineage assignment. LBL occurs more commonly in children than in adults, mostly in males. Although 80% of precursor B-cell neoplasms present as acute leukemias, with BM and peripheral blood (PB) involvement, a small proportion present with a mass lesion and have

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-343
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011


  • Allogeneic transplant
  • Autologous stem-cell transplant
  • CNS prophylaxis
  • Lymphoblastic lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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