Canine lymphoma is the neoplasm most often treated by chemotherapy, yet there are few data to correlate response to therapy with its different subtypes. This study is based on biopsy specimens from 992 dogs for which lymphoma was the clinical diagnosis. All cases were phenotyped by immunohistochemistry for CD3 and CD79alpha. Cases with histiocytic proliferation were evaluated immunohistochemically for CD18. Clonality was verified in 12 cases by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Survival (event time) data and complete survival information (cause of death or time to last follow-up) were available on 456 dogs. Additional covariate information when available included size, age, sex, phenotype, stage and grade of lymphoma, mitotic index, and treatment protocol. Because of the many subtypes of B- and T-cell lymphoma, the cases were grouped into 7 diagnostic categories: (1) benign hyperplasia; (2) low-grade B-cell; (3) high-grade B- and T-cell; (4) low-grade T-cell; (5) centroblastic large B-cell of all mitotic grades (subdivided by clinical stage); (6) immunoblastic large B-cell of all mitotic grades, and (7) high-grade peripheral T-cell. Grouping was determined by histological grade (based on mitotic rate/400× field, with low-grade 0-5, intermediate 6-10, and high-grade >10) and stage for survival function estimation. No association with survival was found for size (based on breed of dog) or sex. All diagnostic categories of indolent or low-grade type had low mitotic rates, whereas those with clinically high grades had high mitotic rates. The diagnostic category with the most cases was centroblastic large B-cell lymphoma. Compared with dogs in this largest represented group of lymphomas, dogs with high-grade lymphomas had significantly higher mortality rates, and dogs with low-grade T-cell lymphomas had significantly lower mortality rates. Treatments for high-, intermediate-, and low-grade lymphomas were divided into 4 groups: absence of treatment, chemotherapy with or without hydroxydaunorubicin, and only prednisone. Dogs with low-grade T-cell (T-zone) lymphomas had the longest median survival (622 days), whereas the shortest median survival was in dogs with T-cell high-grade (peripheral T-cell) subtype (162 days). The dogs with centroblastic large B-cell lymphomas had a median survival of 127 days with low stage, 221 days with intermediate stage, and 215 days with advanced stage. Dogs with T-zone lymphoma were probably diagnosed in later stages of disease because of the lack of signs associated with progression. As with human lymphomas, a histological diagnosis with immunophenotyping is a minimal requirement for diagnosis of a specific subtype.
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