UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pathology

Publication Date


Document Type



Diagnosis | Hematology | Hemic and Lymphatic Diseases | Neoplasms | Oncology | Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms | Pathology


Gray zone lymphoma (GZL) is described as sharing features with classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). However, there remains complexity in establishing diagnosis, delineating prognosis, and determining optimum therapy. Sixty-eight cases diagnosed as GZL across 15 North American academic centers were evaluated by central pathology review to achieve consensus. Of these, only 26 (38%) were confirmed as GZL. Morphology was critical to GZL consensus diagnosis (eg, tumor cell richness); immunohistochemistry showed universal B-cell derivation, frequent CD30 expression, and rare Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) positivity (CD20(+), 83%; PAX5(+), 100%; BCL6(+), 20%; MUM1(+), 100%; CD30(+), 92%; EBV(+), 4%). Forty-two cases were reclassified: nodular sclerosis (NS) cHL, n = 27 (including n = 10 NS grade 2); lymphocyte predominant HL, n = 4; DLBCL, n = 4; EBV(+) DLBCL, n = 3; primary mediastinal large BCL n = 2; lymphocyte-rich cHL and BCL-not otherwise specified, n = 1 each. GZL consensus-confirmed vs reclassified cases, respectively, more often had mediastinal disease (69% vs 41%; P = .038) and less likely more than 1 extranodal site (0% vs 25%; P = .019). With a 44-month median follow-up, 3-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival for patients with confirmed GZL were 39% and 95%, respectively, vs 58% and 85%, respectively, for reclassified cases (P = .19 and P = .15, respectively). Interestingly, NS grade 2 reclassified patients had similar PFS as GZL consensus-confirmed cases. For prognostication of GZL cases, hypoalbuminemia was a negative factor (3-year PFS, 12% vs 64%; P = .01), whereas frontline cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone +/- rituximab (CHOP+/-R) was associated with improved 3-year PFS (70% vs 20%; P = .03); both factors remained significant on multivariate analysis. Altogether, accurate diagnosis of GZL remains challenging, and improved therapeutic strategies are needed.

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© Blood Advances Online by the American Society of Hematology. Open access. Publisher PDF posted as allowed by the publisher's author rights policy at

DOI of Published Version



Blood Adv. 2017 Dec 11;1(26):2600-2609. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2017009472. eCollection 2017 Dec 12. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Blood advances


Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

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