Hodgkin lymphoma variant of Richter transformation: morphology, Epstein-Barr virus status, clonality, and survival analysis-with comparison to Hodgkin-like lesion.

Author(s): Xiao W,  Chen WW,  Sorbara L,  Davies-Hill T,  Pittaluga S,  Raffeld M,  Jaffe ES

Journal: Hum Pathol

Date: 2016 Sep

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): CBRG

PubMed ID: 27184478

PMC ID: PMC4981556

Abstract: Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells in the setting of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) exist in 2 forms: type I with isolated HRS cells in a CLL background (Hodgkin-like lesion) and type II with typical classic Hodgkin lymphoma, a variant of Richter transformation (CHL-RT). The clinical significance of the 2 morphological patterns is unclear, and their biological features have not been compared. We retrospectively reviewed 77 cases: 26 of type I and 51 of type II CHL-RT; 3 cases progressed from type I to type II. We examined clinical features, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) status, and clonal relatedness after microdissection. Median age for type I was 62 years versus 73 years for type II (P=.01); 27% (type I) versus 73% (type II) had a history of CLL. HRS cells were positive for EBV in 71% (55/77), similar in types I and II. Clonality analysis was performed in 33 cases (type I and type II combined): HRS cells were clonally related to the underlying CLL in 14 and unrelated in 19. ZAP-70 expression of the CLL cells but not EBV status or morphological pattern was correlated with clonal relatedness: all 14 clonally related cases were ZAP-70 negative, whereas 74% (14/19) of clonally unrelated cases were ZAP-70 positive. Overall median survival (types I and II) after diagnosis was 44 months. Advanced age was an adverse risk factor for survival, but not histologic pattern, type I versus type II. HRS-like cells in a background of CLL carries a similar clinical risk to that of CHL-RT and may progress to classic Hodgkin lymphoma in some cases.