CD4 and CD8 double-negative immunophenotype of thymoma-associated lymphocytes in a dog.

Research paper by Yvonne M YM Wikander, Kaori K Knights, Calli C Coffee, William W Vernau, David S DS Biller, Mary Lynn ML Higginbotham, Nora L NL Springer

Indexed on: 22 Aug '20Published on: 21 Aug '20Published in: Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation : official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc


Persistent small-cell lymphocytosis in dogs with a concurrent mediastinal mass has been associated with both thymoma and small-cell lymphoma. In thymomas, neoplastic thymic epithelial cells induce overproduction and release of polyclonal lymphocytes, whereas thymic lymphoma results in thymic effacement by a clonal expansion of neoplastic lymphocytes and subsequent leukemic phase of lymphoma. Flow cytometry has been used to differentiate these 2 entities by immunophenotyping mediastinal mass aspirates. It has been reported that cases with mediastinal masses in which ≥ 10% of the associated small-cell lymphocytes were double positive for CD4 and CD8 were thymomas, whereas masses associated with < 10% were suggestive of lymphoma. We report a unique case of thymoma-associated lymphocytosis lacking the classic CD4+CD8+ immunophenotype. Our findings suggest that there may be more diversity in the thymoma-associated lymphocyte immunophenotype than has been identified previously; immunophenotyping alone might not be sufficient to differentiate thymic small-cell lymphoma from thymoma-associated lymphocytosis. In dogs with mediastinal masses and peripheral lymphocytosis, employing a variety of testing modalities to avoid misdiagnosis is prudent. These modalities include cytologic and/or histologic evaluation, immunophenotyping, and clonality assessment.