Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma

The constituent cells of SMZL bear only passing resemblance to splenic marginal zone cells and do not share their immunophenotype.31 Patients typically present with splenomegaly often accompanied by anemia and thrombocytopenia. Peripheral blood involvement is often, but not always, present and in some of these cases the circulating neoplastic lymphocytes have a villous appearance. These cases were previously termed "splenic lymphoma with villous lymphocytes."32 The use of this somewhat imprecise term will not only fail to include those cases without circulating villous lymphocytes but, more importantly, tends to include other cases of B-cell lymphoma with peripheral blood spillover since the cells of various lymphomas may sometimes adopt a villous appearance, either real or artifactual, in the peripheral blood. This is an important consideration since SMZL tends to respond favorably to splenectomy alone in contrast to its poor response to chemotherapy.33

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