The small cell variant of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Anaplastic large cell lymphomas constitute a heterogeneous group of hematopoietic neoplasms that are characterized by immunopositivity for CD30 and the presence, in varying degrees, of large, pleomorphic "hallmark" cells. Primary systemic anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive anaplastic large cell lymphomas are a subset of this group. Numerous heterogeneous histomorphologic patterns have been described in anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive anaplastic large cell lymphomas, and all patterns tend to have a better prognosis than that found in anaplastic lymphoma kinase-negative cases. We provide a short review of the small cell variant of anaplastic large cell lymphoma to facilitate the diagnosis of this difficult-to-recognize entity, which may be confused with reactive processes, commonly presents with disseminated disease, and pursues an aggressive clinical course.
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