Blastic transformation of splenic marginal zone B-cell lymphoma
To our knowledge, blastic transformation of splenic marginal zone lymphoma, a recently characterized low-grade lymphoproliferative disorder, has not been reported previously. In this regard, we report the unique case of a 70-year-old woman whose untreated splenic marginal zone lymphoma underwent blastic transformation 3 years after diagnosis. Her hematologic medical history started in 1988 as thrombocytopenia refractory to steroids associated with atypical lymphoid infiltrate in the bone marrow. She underwent splenectomy in 1989, which revealed splenic marginal zone lymphoma. One year later, the patient developed lymphadenopathy noted in the chest, axillary, abdominal, and retroperitoneal lymph nodes. Because she was asymptomatic, treatment was limited to a conservative supportive regimen. The nodal lymphoma cells had features associated with marginal zone lymphoma and expressed B-cell monotypic kappa light chain. She was readmitted for the last time 2 years later with findings of 16% blasts in the peripheral blood and massive infiltration of the bone marrow by large blastoid cells. The blasts showed dispersed chromatin and prominent nucleoli, and possessed a moderate amount of clear cytoplasm. The blasts, like the previous nodal and splenic lymphomas, had a CD20-, CD19-, IgM-positive phenotype, but lacked reactivity for CD5, CD10, and CD23. The patient displayed clinical remission after treatment with vincristine and prednisone, but died of aspiration pneumonia 1 month later. These observations suggest that, similar to the other low-grade lymphoproliferative disorders, an untreated splenic marginal zone lymphoma may undergo high-grade blastic transformation.