Leukemia & lymphoma

Aggressive mature natural killer cell neoplasms: report on a series of 12 European patients with emphasis on flow cytometry based immunophenotype and DNA content of neoplastic natural killer cells.

PMID 24669939


We report 12 cases of aggressive natural killer (NK) cell neoplasms diagnosed in Portugal, with emphasis on flow cytometry. Ten patients had extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma, nasal type and two had aggressive NK cell leukemia, and seven were men and five were women, with a median age of 50 years. NK cells brightly expressed the CD56 adhesion molecule and CD94 lectin type killer receptor and had an activation-related HLA-DR+ CD45RA+ CD45RO+ immunophenotype, in most cases. In contrast, dim CD16 expression was found in a minor proportion of cases, whereas CD57 and the CD158a and CD158e1 killer immunoglobulin-like receptors were negative. One-third of cases showed a hyperploid DNA content and nearly all had a very high S-phase proliferative rate. The phenotypic features of the neoplastic NK cells would suggest that they represent the transformed counterpart of the CD56 + bright NK cells that circulate in normal blood.

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