Richter transformation: chronic lymphocytic leukemia to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma


Started follow-up two years ago for a clinical and laboratory picture of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Did not require a specific treatment.

Several months ago, hospitalized due to unexplained new-onset anemia, lymphocytosis was gone, transient aggravation of lymphadenopathy. Accepted workup was done, with the working assumption that the cause was an intercurrent viral infection. New cervical lymphadenopathy for the last few weeks.

Pathology report, cervical lymph node biopsy:

Macroscopic description: Segments of grey flexible tissue measuring 3X2.5X1.5 cm overall.

Microscopic description: Lymph node showing diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, non-germinal center type. Tumor cells were positive for CD20, MUM-1 and BcL-6, and negative for CD5, CD10, BcL-2, and CD23. The proliferation index (Ki-67 stain) is about 80%. C-myc stains about 30% of tumor cells. In addition, peripheral salivary gland tissue (non-involved) is present.

On the current CT study, the lymphadenopathy is far more striking than on the previous one and reflects the patient's diagnosis.

Richter transformation denotes development of aggressive lymphoid disease, usually high-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma, in patients with CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma.