Printer Friendly

An Unsuspected Finding of t(9;22): A Rare Case of Philadelphia Chromosome-Positive B-Lymphoblastic Lymphoma.

1. Introduction

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (ALL/LBL) is a malignant neoplasm characterized by rapid proliferation of immature lymphoblasts in the bone marrow and extramedullary tissues. An arbitrary distinction between leukemia and lymphoma in the ALL/LBL disease spectrum is made based on the percentage of bone marrow blasts with more than 25% designated as leukemia [1]. LBL is a disease primarily occurring in children and young adults but has also been reported across all age groups [2]. B-LBL has a much lower incidence (approximately 10% of all LBL), predominates in older age population, and is less likely to present with bone marrow involvement compared with its T-cell counterpart [2, 3].

The presence of BCR-ABL1 fusion defines Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL (Ph+ ALL). Ph+ ALL constitutes only 2-5% of childhood cases but is the most common cytogenetic abnormality occurring in up to 30-40% of adult ALL patients [4, 5]. The diagnosis has major therapeutic implications with ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors forming a valuable component of the treatment strategy and positively influencing clinical outcome in an otherwise high-risk subset of ALL [6].

Extramedullary tissue involvement typically occurs during relapse or disease progression and it is uncommon to find isolated extramedullary disease without evidence of bone marrow involvement. Ph+ LBL has only rarely been reported in the literature but may be potentially underrecognized due to inadequate testing of the tumor samples [7]. We report a patient with Ph+ B-LBL. The diagnosis was based on clues obtained from molecular testing performed on his bone marrow. This case illustrates the necessity and immense value of performing adequate cytogenetic and molecular analyses to help arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

2. Case Report

A 77-year-old gentleman first presented to our institution four years ago for a second opinion and treatment options. His history dated back three months prior to presentation when he began to notice calf pain after biking. This was followed, a month later, by a mechanical fall after which he started experiencing constant mild back pain. During this time, he also noticed that his right testicle was enlarged. The testicular enlargement did not respond to antibiotics and he subsequently underwent an ultrasound which showed solid masses in both testes. PET scan demonstrated increased metabolic activity in the right testicle (SUV 6), a portion of the left testicle (SUV 5), and a flare in a 6 mm retroperitoneal lymph node (SUV 4). There was also increased metabolic activity observed in the lytic lesions involving the left pubic symphysis (SUV of 7.2) and L5 vertebral body (SUV 6.2). The patient underwent a bilateral orchiectomy and, soon after, presented to our institution. The pathology specimen was reviewed and showed lymphomatous involvement with sheets of medium-sized cells with blastoid morphology characterized by fine chromatin, occasional distinct nucleoli, and scant cytoplasm. Immunohistochemical stains revealed the neoplastic cells to be positive for CD10, CD34, CD43, BCL-2, and TdT and negative for CD3, CD5, and CD20. Flow cytometric immunophenotypic analysis showed an aberrant population of lymphoblasts that were positive for CD10, CD19, CD34, HLA-DR, and dim CD4 and negative for surface immunoglobulin light chains, consistent with B-LBL. A bone marrow biopsy performed at our institution showed only 2% blasts with no morphologic support for acute leukemia. Flow cytometry analysis of the bone marrow aspirate specimen revealed a very small population of B-lymphoblasts (0.006%), consistent with minimal disseminated disease (MDD) by B-ALL. Cytogenetic analysis performed on the bone marrow showed a normal male diploid karyotype, 46, XY[20]. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using a probe specific for BCR-ABL1 rearrangement was negative. However, real-time PCR testing for BCR-ABL1 rearrangement, a part of routine panel testing at our institution, detected a low-level e1a2 BCR-ABL1 fusion transcript coding for the 190 kDa BCR-ABL1 protein (BCR-ABL1/ABL1, 0.48%). We subsequently performed a core needle biopsy of the patient's L5 vertebral lesion which was also consistent with B-LBL (Figure 1).

Given the presence of low-level BCR-ABL1 fusion in the bone marrow detected by PCR, we performed FISH analysis for BCR/ABL1 rearrangement in both the testicular biopsy and the L5 vertebral biopsy, which showed that 90% (testes) and 80% (L5 vertebral body) were positive for BCR/ABL1 rearrangement (Figure 2). Meanwhile, PCR performed on a peripheral blood sample also showed a low-level of BCR-ABL1 gene rearrangement (1.46%). Based on these findings, the patient was diagnosed to have Ph+ B-LBL. He received rituximab, hyper-CVAD chemotherapy, and dasatinib, along with intrathecal prophylactic chemotherapy. He achieved a complete remission, documented by repeat marrow and PET imaging. He developed pleural effusion and fever with dasatinib, and thus dasatinib was switched to imatinib, and later nilotinib (for possible better antileukemia activity). Repeat PCR on bone marrow and peripheral blood samples showed no evidence of BCR-ABL1 gene rearrangement. However, a routine yearly PET scan performed 4 years after the initial diagnosis showed a new soft tissue mass below the right kidney. A biopsy revealed relapsed B-LBL (Figure 3). Therapy with blinatumomab and ponatinib was planned. However, the patient developed aspiration pneumonia and died before therapy could be instituted.

3. Discussion

Testicular involvement by lymphoma is uncommon occurring in only 1-2% of extranodal lymphomas [8]. Primary testicular B-LBL is an infrequently reported entity and constitutes a very small percentage of testicular lymphomas [9, 10]. There was no morphologic evidence to suggest leukemia involvement with only 2% blasts on initial bone marrow analysis. We did not entertain the possibility of Ph+ B-LBL until the detection of low-level BCR-ABL1 fusion on our routine bone marrow real-time PCR testing. Based on this finding, we assessed for the presence of BCR-ABL1 fusion by FISH in his testicular and vertebral body biopsy samples which returned positive (Figure 2). This allowed us to make a diagnosis of Ph+ B-LBL and treat him with hyper-CVAD and a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (dasatinib). We would not have reached this diagnosis if we had not routinely performed real-time PCR (sensitivity 0.001%) [11]. Additional clues to Ph positivity may be obtained from flow cytometry. Although CD25 was not analyzed on the testis biopsy sample, it was tested for and returned positive in the bone marrow sample. CD25 is highly expressed in patients with BCR-ABL fusions [12]. Additionally, CD13 and CD33 tend to be expressed with higher intensity in Ph+ ALL [13].

Ph+ B-LBL has only rarely been reported in the literature. Zhu et al. reported a patient with testicular B-LBL in whom the presence of Ph chromosome was not detected until 8 months after initial diagnosis when he returned with a relapse [7]. It is conceivable that this may have had a major impact on the eventual outcome. Early and accurate diagnosis is imperative as best possible outcomes are obtained when tyrosine kinase inhibitors are instituted early in treatment along with the first cycle of induction therapy [14, 15]. It is noteworthy to mention that the testis, like central nervous system, provides a sanctuary site for cancer cells and its involvement predicts for a high risk of systemic and nervous system relapse [16, 17]. Despite the much more comprehensive treatment which included bilateral orchiectomy, rituximab, hyper-CVAD, and dasatinib with intrathecal prophylaxis, our patient eventually relapsed and died, approximately 4 years after the initial diagnosis.

In conclusion, we describe a rare case of Ph+ B-LBL. We recommend routine testing of B-LBL (and T-LBL) biopsy specimens for the presence of Philadelphia chromosome, preferably by both FISH and PCR.

Received 28 May 2017; Accepted 8 August 2017; Published 18 September 2017

Academic Editor: Kazunori Nakase

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


This paper is supported in part by the MD Anderson Cancer Center Support Grant CA016672 (PI: Dr. Ronald DePinho) and Award no. P01 CA049639.


[1] S. H. Swerdlow, "Lymphoma classification and the tools of our trade: An introduction to the 2012 USCAP long course," Modern Pathology, vol. 26, pp. 1-14, 2013.

[2] B. N. Nathwani, L. W. Diamond, C. D. Winberg et al., "Lymphoblastic lymphoma: A clinicopathologic study of 95 patients," Cancer, vol. 48, no. 11, pp. 2347-2357, 1981.

[3] R. A. Soslow, R. N. Baergen, and R. A. Warnke, "B-lineage lymphoblastic lymphoma is a clinicopathologic entity distinct from other histologically similar aggressive lymphomas with blastic morphology," Cancer, vol. 85, no. 12, pp. 2648-2654, 1999.

[4] S. P. Hunger and C. G. Mullighan, "Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children," The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 373, no. 16, pp. 1541-1552, 2015.

[5] C. G. Mullighan, "Genome sequencing of lymphoid malignancies," Blood, vol. 122, no. 24, pp. 3899-3907, 2013.

[6] D. A. Thomas, S. Faderl, J. Cortes et al., "Treatment of Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphocytic leukemia with hyper-CVAD and imatinib mesylate," Blood, vol. 103, no. 12, pp. 4396-4407, 2004.

[7] J. Zhu, S. Zhang, L. Zhu et al., "Primary testicular ph-positive B lymphoblastic lymphoma: An unusual presentation and review," Cancer Biology and Therapy, vol. 16, no. 8, pp. 1122-1127, 2015.

[8] M. B. Moller, F. d'Amore, and B. E. Christensen, "Testicular lymphoma: a population-based study of incidence, clinico-pathological correlations and prognosis," European Journal of Cancer, vol. 30, no. 12, pp. 1760-1764, 1994.

[9] C. Sahni and S. Desai, "Primary testicular precursor Blymphoblastic lymphoma: A rare entity," Leukemia and Lymphoma, vol. 48, no. 10, pp. 2060-2062, 2007

[10] A. V. Garcia, B. Alobeid, J. M. Traina, S. S. Chen, M. A. Weiner, and W. Middlesworth, "Isolated primary testicular B lymphoblastic lymphoma: An unusual presentation," Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, vol. 35, no. 2,pp. e88-e90, 2013.

[11] A. L. Nashed, K. W. Rao, and M. L. Gulley, "Clinical applications of BCR-ABL molecular testing in acute leukemia," Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 63-72, 2003.

[12] E. Paietta, J. Racevskis, D. Neuberg, J. M. Rowe, A. H. Goldstone, and P. H. Wiernik, "Expression of CD25 (interleukin-2 receptor a chain) in adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia predicts for the presence of BCR/ABL fusion transcripts: Results of a preliminary laboratory analysis of ECOG/MRC Intergroup Study E2993," Leukemia, vol. 11, no. 11, pp. 1887-1890, 1997

[13] J. Jaso, D. A. Thomas, K. Cunningham et al., "Prognostic significance of immunophenotypic and karyotypic features of Philadelphia positive B-lymphoblastic leukemia in the era of tyrosine kinase inhibitors," Cancer, vol. 117, no. 17, pp. 4009-4017, 2011.

[14] F. Ravandi, S. M. O'Brien, J. E. Cortes et al., "Long-term follow-up of a phase 2 study of chemotherapy plus dasatinib for the initial treatment of patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia," Cancer, vol. 121, no. 23, pp. 4158-4164, 2015.

[15] N. Daver, D. Thomas, F. Ravandi et al., "Final report of a phase II study of imatinib mesylate with hyper-CVAD for the frontline treatment of adult patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic Leukemia," Haematologica, vol. 100, no. 5, pp. 653-661, 2015.

[16] O. B. Eden, A. Rankin, and H. E. M. Kay, "Isolated testicular relapse in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia of childhood. Report on behalf of the Medical Research Council's working party on leukaemia in childhood," Archives of Disease in Childhood, vol. 58, no. 2, pp. 128-132, 1983.

[17] D. S. Dave, J. T. Leppert, and J. Rajfer, "Is the testis a chemo-privileged site? Is there a blood-testis barrier?" Reviews in Urology, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 28-32, 2007

Prajwal Boddu, (1) C. Cameron Yin, (2) Rashmi Kanagal-Shamanna, (2) Guillin Tang, (2) Beenu Thakral, (2) Tapan Kadia, (1) Marina Konopleva, (1) Elias Jabbour, (1) and Nitin Jain (1)

(1) Department of Leukemia, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

(2) Department of Hematopathology, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Nitin Jain;

Caption: FIGURE 1: Morphologic features of the L5 lesion. (a) The core needle biopsy specimen is extensively replaced with atypical lymphoid infiltrate with predominantly medium-sized cells fine chromatin, occasional distinct nucleoli, and scant cytoplasm (H&E, 400x). (b-d) Immunohistochemical stains show that the neoplastic cells are positive for CD19 ((b), 400x), CD20 ((c), 400x), and TdT ((d), 400x).

Caption: FIGURE 2: Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis with a LSI BCR/ABL1 ES probes (Abbott Molecular, Inc.) on a formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded L5 vertebral body biopsy. Cells with a signal pattern of 1 red, 1 green, and 2 yellow (fusion signal) are positive for BCR/ABL1 rearrangement (marked by arrow); cells with 2 red and 2 green are normal (marked by arrow head).

Caption: FIGURE 3: Morphologic features of the soft tissue lesion upon relapse. (a) The core needle biopsy specimen is extensively replaced with atypical lymphoid infiltrate with predominantly medium-sized cells with fine chromatin, occasional distinct nucleoli, and scant cytoplasm (H&E, 200x). (b-d) Immunohistochemical stains show that the neoplastic cells are positive for CD20 ((b), 200x), PAX-5 ((c), 200x), and TdT ((d), 200x).
COPYRIGHT 2017 Hindawi Limited
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Case Report
Author:Boddu, Prajwal; Yin, C. Cameron; Kanagal-Shamanna, Rashmi; Tang, Guillin; Thakral, Beenu; Kadia, Tap
Publication:Case Reports in Hematology
Article Type:Clinical report
Date:Jan 1, 2017
Previous Article:Successful Management of Acquired Hemophilia A Associated with Bullous Pemphigoid: A Case Report and Review of the Literature.
Next Article:Secondary Hemochromatosis due to Chronic Oral Iron Supplementation.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters