Nodular pattern of bone marrow infiltration: frequent finding in immunosuppression-related EBV-associated large B-cell lymphomas

Sevilla, Deborah W.; Weeden, Erin M.; Alexander, Suzy; Vundavalli, Murty V.; Alobeid, Bachir; Bhagat, Govind

Different patterns of bone marrow (BM) infiltration by diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBCL) have been described. A pure nodular pattern is uncommon, and the pathologic features, as well as the clinical correlates of DLBCL manifesting this pattern in the BM have not been well characterized. We evaluated BM biopsies involved by large B cell lymphomas diagnosed at our institute over an 11-year period to assess the morphology, phenotype, cytogenetic abnormalities, and clinical features of cases associated with a nodular pattern. A distinct nodular pattern of BM involvement was noted in 14 out of 55 (25%) cases. Although both EBV+ and EBV−DLBCL with this pattern were identified, a pure nodular pattern was significantly more common in EBV+ DLBCL compared to EBV− DLBCL (8/9, 89% versus 6/46, 13%; P=0.00002). The majority of EBV+ DLBCL associated with a nodular pattern had distinctive morphologic features (polymorphic cellular infiltrate and pleomorphic cytology), and CD30 expression was more commonly observed in this group (P=0.0163). All EBV+ DLBCL and two out of six (33%) EBV− DLBCL had nongerminal center phenotypes. No recurrent cytogenetic abnormalities were detected in either group. Importantly, all EBV+ DLBCL occurred in individuals with immune dysfunction (organ transplant recipients, HIV infection) or in those >50 years of age. Our study indicates a much higher predilection for EBV+ DLBCL to involve the marrow in a nodular pattern compared to EBV− cases and highlights similarities in the morphologic pattern of BM involvement by previously recognized subsets of immunodeficiency-related EBV + lymphomas and the newer entity of “EBV+ DLBCL of the elderly.”


  • thumnail for Sevilla D et al Virchows Arch 2009.pdf Sevilla D et al Virchows Arch 2009.pdf application/pdf 1.06 MB Download File

Also Published In

Virchows Archiv

More About This Work

Academic Units
Pathology and Cell Biology
Published Here
November 21, 2019