AIMS--To investigate whether CD30 expression is correlated with anaplastic morphology, and whether this correlated with a better survival in large cell B cell lymphomas, as has been described for T cell lymphomas. METHODS--CD30 expression was investigated using frozen sections in a series of 146 large cell B cell lymphomas. Clinical data and follow up information were collected from 25 lymphomas with strong CD30 expression, 30 lymphomas with partial CD30 expression, and a control group of 25 lymphomas which did not express CD30. RESULTS--Morphological distinction between anaplastic and non-anaplastic tumours was difficult. Of the cases with an anaplastic morphology, 50% were CD30 positive, as were 24% of the polymorphic centroblastic B cell lymphomas. Only 65% of the morphologically non-anaplastic tumours were completely CD30 negative. There was no difference in survival among patients with lymphomas expressing CD30 and those that did not. Patients with morphologically anaplastic B cell lymphomas did not differ in their survivals from those with other high grade B cell lymphomas. Clinical stage at presentation was the only variable that was significantly associated with survival. CONCLUSIONS--CD30 expression occurs frequently in large cell B cell lymphomas and is poorly related to anaplastic morphology. Morphological distinction between anaplastic and non-anaplastic tumours is difficult. In contrast to T cell lymphomas, CD30 positive B cell lymphomas do not show a relatively favourable clinical course. The results presented here raise serious doubts as to whether large cell B cell lymphoma, based on the expression of CD30 or anaplastic morphology, can really be termed a separate entity.
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