Plasmablastic myeloma in Taiwan frequently presents with extramedullary and extranodal mass mimicking plasmablastic lymphoma

Bo Jung Chen, Chang Tsu Yuan, Ching Fen Yang, Chung Han Ho, Yen Kuang Lin, Ying Zhen Su, Hsiu Chu Chou, Shih Sung Chuang

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Plasmablastic myeloma (PBM) is a blastic morphologic variant of plasma cell myeloma with less favorable prognosis than those with non-blastic morphology. PBM is rare, without clear-cut definition and detailed clinicopathologic features in the literature. PBM may mimic plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL) as they share nearly identical morphology and immunophenotype. Using the criteria of ≥ 30% plasmablasts in tissue sections, we retrospectively recruited PBM cases and analyzed their clinical, imaging, and pathologic findings, with emphasis on extramedullary involvement. We performed immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization for Epstein-Barr virus (EBER), and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for lymphoma- and myeloma-associated genetic alterations. Of the 25 recruited cases, 15 (60%) had extramedullary involvement, which occurred as initial presentation in nine cases. The most common extramedullary sites were soft tissue and/or skin (10/15, 67%), followed by pleural effusion, the lungs, and lymph nodes. Immunohistochemically, tumor cells expressed MYC (74%; 17/23), CD56 (56%; 14/25), and cyclin D1 (16%; 4/25), while CD117 was all negative (n = 25). Of the 20 cases stained with p53, four (20%) cases were diffusely positive, and the remaining 16 cases showed a heterogeneous pattern. EBER was negative in all 24 cases examined. Of the 13 cases examined with FISH, the genetic aberrations identified included del(13q14)(92%; 12/13), gain of chromosome 1q (90%; 9/10), loss of chromosome 1p (60%; 6/10), IGH-FGFR3 reciprocal translocation (23%; 3/13), rearranged MYC (15%; 2/13), and rearranged CCND1 (8%; 1/13), while there were no cases with TP53 deletion (n = 10) or rearrangement of BCL2 (n = 13) or BCL6 (n = 13). The prognosis was dismal regardless of the presence or absence of extramedullary involvement. In conclusion, PBM in Taiwan frequently presented as extramedullary and extranodal lesions, particularly in soft tissue and/or skin, mimicking PBL. FISH for targeted genetic alterations such as del(13q14), gain of chromosome 1q, loss of chromosome 1p, and IGH-FGFR3 might be helpful for the differential diagnoses. Larger studies are warranted to investigate the genetic alterations between PBM and PBL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-293
Number of pages11
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Del(13q14)
  • Extramedullary
  • IGH-FGFR3 reciprocal translocation
  • Plasmablastic lymphoma
  • Plasmablastic myeloma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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