The authors revise the concept of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) in the light of the recently updated WHO classification of Tumors of Hematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues both on biological and clinical grounds. The main histological findings are illustrated with special reference to the cytological spectrum that is indeed characteristic of the tumor. The phenotype is reported in detail: the expression of the ALK protein as well as the chromosomal abnormalities is discussed with their potential pathogenetic implications. The clinical features of ALCL are presented by underlining the difference in terms of response to therapy and survival between the ALK-positive and ALK-negative forms. Finally, the biological rationale for potential innovative targeted therapies is presented.
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