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A 44-year-old woman with a 12-year history of Sjögren's syndrome (SS) developed a low-grade mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma in the parotid gland. Two years later, she presented with generalized lymphadenopathy and hepatosplenomegaly and a follicular lymphoma was diagnosed. To investigate the relationship of the two histologically distinct lymphomas, we re-examined their histology and immunophenotype and studied the lymphomatous tissue from the parotid, cervical lymph node, and spleen using molecular genetic methods. Histologic and immunophenotypic studies confirmed the previous diagnoses and also identified a previously unnoticed focus of follicular lymphoma in the second parotid gland biopsy. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the rearranged Ig heavy-chain gene showed the same sized dominant product in the MALT lymphoma and the follicular lymphoma. Similarly, PCR analysis of the t(14:18) translocation yielded an identical sized band from both MALT and follicular lymphoma. Cloning and sequencing of the Ig PCR products showed an identical CDR3 sequence from each lesion, indicating a common clonal lineage. The follicular lymphoma of the parotid gland lymph node and the follicular lymphoma of the spleen showed an identical mutation signature to that of the salivary gland MALT lymphoma. We propose that follicular lymphoma in the parotid gland lymph node may have resulted from colonization of lymphoid follicles by MALT lymphoma cells, following which the tumor cells were induced to express a follicular lymphoma phenotype, due to Bcl-2 overexpression caused by t(14;18), leading to a change in clinical behavior resulting in rapid widespread dissemination of disease. These observations suggest that the distinct phenotypes of low-grade B-cell lymphomas may be the consequence of interplay between genetic and local microenvironmental factors.


Journal article



Publication Date





2247 - 2251


Adult, Amino Acid Sequence, Base Sequence, Biopsy, Female, Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte, Heavy Chain, Humans, Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains, Immunophenotyping, Lymph Nodes, Lymphoma, B-Cell, Marginal Zone, Lymphoma, Follicular, Molecular Sequence Data, Parotid Neoplasms, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Sequence Alignment, Sjogren's Syndrome, Spleen