Follicular lymphoma is characterised by the t(14;18)(q32;q21) chromosomal translocation causing BCL2 protein overexpression. A proportion of follicular lymphomas do not carry the t(14;18) translocation and lacked BCL2 protein expression. We describe a case of a BCL2 protein- and t(14;18)-negative follicular lymphoma that caused diagnostic difficulty. The usefulness of several immunomarkers including Ki67, CD79a and CD21 in aiding the diagnosis is discussed. The patient is a 51-year-old male who presented with gradually enlarging lymphadenopathy. Histopathological examination of the lymph node showed complete architectural effacement by neoplastic follicles containing expanded CD21-positive follicular dendritic cell meshwork. The neoplastic cells expressed pan-B cell markers (CD20, CD79a) and germinal centre marker (BCL6) but not BCL2 and CD10. Of interest are the staining patterns of Ki67 and CD79a. We observed that the Ki67- positive proliferating cells were evenly distributed within the neoplastic follicles without zonation. In addition, CD79a was homogeneously strong within the neoplastic follicles. These staining patterns were distinctly different from that observed in reactive lymphoid follicles. Fluorescent insitu hybridisation (FISH) analysis however showed absence of BCL2 gene rearrangement. Despite the atypical immunophenotype and lack of BCL2 gene rearrangement, the diagnosis of follicular lymphoma was made based on careful observation of the morphology as well as immunoarchitecture of the Ki67, CD79a and CD21 markers.
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