Background: The clinical applicability of the Revised European-american Lymphoma (R.E.A.L) Classification has been demonstrated in several retrospective studies. The present, ongoing study was initiated to evaluate the clinical and pathological utility of the R.E.A.L. Classification compared with the Working Formulation (WF) in a prospective fashion, in an unselected patient population treated at a single institution. Patients and methods: Prospective data were collected on 596 biopsics from 557 patients referred with an initial diagnosis of lymphoma. After initial histologic review, 465 biopsies from 441 patients were confirmed as non-Hodgkin's lyphoma (NHL), 412 of which could be classified in R.E.A.L. and WF. Results: According to WF criteria, 25% were low grade, 58% intermediate grade and 2% high grade. 14% could not be allocated to a WF subtype. According to R.E.A.L., 46% were diffuse large B cell, 19% follicle centre lymphoma, 6% marginal zone, 6% small lymphocytic, 4% mantle cell, and 3% T-cell anaplastic large cell. For those with B-cell NHL, 7% were unclassifiable in WF compared with 1% in R.E.A.L. Corresponding figures for T-cell NHL were 68% and 3%, respectively. Conclusions: Preliminary results confirm the clinical utility of the R.E.A.L. Classification in a single institution setting, demonstrating that cases were more readily sub-typed in R.E.A.L. compared with WF. Frequencies are comparable with I.L.S.G. data. Further follow up with large patient numbers is on-going to analyse survival data with reference to clinical prognostic factors.
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