Monoclonal antibody HBME-1 reacts with a minor subset of B cells with villous surface and can be useful in the diagnosis of hairy cell leukemia and other indolent lymphoproliferations of villous B lymphocytes

László Krenács, Judit Tóth-Lipták, Judit Demeter, Klára Piukovics, Zita Borbényi, Péter Gogolák, Eszter Sári, Eniko Bagdi

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The Hector Battifora mesothelial epitope-1 (HBME-1) monoclonal antibody has been generated against human mesothelioma cells and recognizes a biochemically unknown membrane epitope. We have accidentally found that the HBME-1 reacts with scattered lymphocytes showing villous surface in hyperplastic lymphoid tissue. To evaluate its reactivity pattern, we have performed a consecutive immunohistochemical study in nonneoplastic bone marrow and lymphoid samples (n = 40), as well as in malignant lymphoproliferations (n = 427), including hairy cell leukemia (HCL) (n = 72), HCL variant (HCL-v) (n = 13), splenic diffuse red pulp small B cell lymphoma (SDRPL) (n = 8), splenic B cell marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL) (n = 59), and splenic B cell lymphoma/leukemia, not further classifiable on bone marrow morphology (SBCL) (n = 37) cases. The staining pattern of HBME-1 was compared to DBA.44. HBME-1+ villous lymphocytes were constantly detected in low number in nonneoplastic lymphoid tissues. With multicolor immunofluorescence staining, HBME-1+ lymphocytes showed a CD20+/CD79a+/IgM+ B cell phenotype. In B cell lymphoproliferations of villous lymphocytes, HBME-1 reactivity was demonstrated in 96 % of HCL, 39 % of HCL-v, 50 % of SDRPL, 12 % of SMZL, and 19 % of SBCL cases. Nodal and extranodal marginal zone lymphoma cases were positive in 12 % of the cases. A small minority (4 %) of the other B cell lymphomas and no T cell lymphoma revealed tumor cell reactivity with HBME-1. In conclusion, our study has established that HBME-1 reacts with a minor subset of B lymphocytes and a small proportion of B cell lymphomas, which has not been described previously. We suggest that HBME-1 can be a useful marker in the diagnosis of HCL and other indolent lymphoproliferations of villous B lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-794
Number of pages8
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013



  • HBME-1
  • Hairy cell leukemia
  • Indolent splenic B cell lymphomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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