Varied B-cell immunophenotypes of Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg cells in classic Hodgkin's disease

K WatanabeN Mori


Recent analyses have suggested that Hodgkin's or Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells in most cases of classic Hodgkin's disease are derived from germinal centre B-cells. However, there is controversy over which B-cell antigens are expressed in HRS cells. We studied 51 cases of classic Hodgkin's disease to immunohistochemically characterize HRS cells for pan-B-cell markers and specific markers for plasma cells. HRS cells expressed CD20 (L26) in 18 cases (35%), CD19 (B4) in nine (18%) and CD79a (mb-1) in 13 (25%). Furthermore, HRS cells were positive for CD138 (B-B4) in 24 cases (45%) and for PCA-1 in 24 (45%). In 41 (80%) cases, HRS cells expressed more than one B-cell marker. We then subclassified cases into those positive for plasma cell markers (n = 27) (group 1) and those negative for them (n = 24) (group 2). The average age in group 1 (40 years) was younger than in group 2 (54 years) (P < 0.05). The percentage of nodular sclerosis (NS) subtype in group 1 (52%) was 1.5 times greater than in group 2 (33%) (P < 0.05). With regard to Epstein-Barr virus encoded small RNA (EBER) in-situ hybridization, 14 cases (64%) were positive in group 2, but only seven cases (31%) were positive in group 1 (P < 0.025). In most cases of classic Hodgkin'...Continue Reading


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