Follicular lymphoma transformed to "double-hit" B lymphoblastic lymphoma presenting in the peritoneal fluid

Alesia Kaplan, Arbaz Samad, Michelle M. Dolan, Adina M. Cioc, Carol J. Holman, Stephen C. Schmechel, Stefan E. Pambuccian

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11 Scopus citations


Lymphomas showing both MYC/8q24 rearrangement and IGH@BCL2/t(14;18) (q32;q21), also referred to as "double-hit" or "dual-hit" lymphomas (DHL) are rare B-cell malignancies with a germinal center B-cell immunophenotype and heterogeneous cytologic and histologic features. Such lymphomas may arise de novo or through transformation of follicular lymphomas and are classified either as "B-cell lymphoma, unclassifiable, with features intermediate between diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and Burkitt lymphoma (BL)" (most commonly), DLBCL, or, rarely, as B-lymphoblastic lymphoma. We report a case of B-lymphobastic lymphoma arising through transformation of follicular lymphoma diagnosed on peritoneal fluid cytology, flow cytometry, and cytogenetic studies in a 53-year-old man who presented with abdominal pain, shortness of breath, night sweats, extensive lymphadenopathy, pleural effusion, and ascites. Cytologic examination of the ascitic fluid showed two distinct populations of neoplastic lymphoid cells, a predominant population of larger cells with fine powdery ("blastic") chromatin, visible to prominent nucleoli and occasional small cytoplasmic vacuoles and a less numerous population of smaller cells with centrocytic morphology. Flow cytometry also showed two distinct monotypic B-cell populations, both expressing CD10, and TdT-positivity was demonstrated immunohistochemically. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) demonstrated both MYC rearrangement and IGH/BCL2 gene fusion and cytogenetic analysis showed a complex karyotype including both t(14;18)(q32;q21) and t(8;22)(q24.1;q11.2). Since DHL pursue an aggressive clinical course, respond poorly to therapy, and have a poor outcome, it is important to suspect the diagnosis when encountering neoplastic lymphoid cells that are difficult to classify in effusion cytology specimens and to order the appropriate immunophenotyping and cytogenetic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-990
Number of pages5
JournalDiagnostic Cytopathology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013


  • FISH
  • cytology
  • double-hit
  • flow cytometry
  • malignant lymphoma
  • peritoneal fluid

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    Kaplan, A., Samad, A., Dolan, M. M., Cioc, A. M., Holman, C. J., Schmechel, S. C., & Pambuccian, S. E. (2013). Follicular lymphoma transformed to "double-hit" B lymphoblastic lymphoma presenting in the peritoneal fluid. Diagnostic Cytopathology, 41(11), 986-990.