Peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCLs) are heterogeneous, clinically aggressive, and rare. Subtype distribution varies by geographic location; however, data from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are lacking. We sought to elucidate clinicopathologic features of PTCL in SSA.
We reviewed PTCL consultation cases from three SSA countries. PTCL subtype was determined per 2017 World Health Organization classification. Cases with sufficient material were evaluated by polymerase chain reaction for human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and T-cell receptor γ (TCRG) rearrangement.
Among 32 cases, median age was 45 years and male-to-female ratio was 1.7. Thirty (94%) of 32 cases required additional workup for subclassification. PTCL, not otherwise specified (PTCL-NOS) was the most common subtype (13/32, 41%), followed by PTCL with T-follicular helper phenotype (6/32, 19%) and systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (6/32, 19%). Four (16%) of 25 cases were Epstein-Barr virus positive (EBV+) (2/2 extranodal natural killer/T-cell lymphoma, 1/13 PTCL-NOS, and 1/4 angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma with EBV+ immunoblasts). Two (15%) of 13 patients with PTCL-NOS were human immunodeficiency virus positive. No cases with evaluable DNA (0/15) were HTLV-1 positive, and 9 of 10 showed clonal TCRG rearrangements.
In comparison to Western studies, PTCLs from SSA show similar subtype distribution and male predominance but a younger age at diagnosis. Appropriate diagnosis of PTCL requires extensive ancillary testing not readily available in low-income countries, including much of SSA.