Reed-Sternberg cell

Hodgkin's lymphoma is a primary malignant tumor of the lymph nodes, rarely affecting the extranodal lymphoid tissue. The diagnosis criteria are : tumor component (Reed-Sternberg cell - typical and variants) and a reactive component (normal mature lymphocytes, eosinophils, plasma cells, neutrophils, fibrosis and capillaries).

Histological classification of Hodgkin's lymphoma (according to lymph node architecture, ratio between tumor and non-tumor components, morphology of Reed-Sternberg cell and compositon of reactive infiltrate) :

  1. (Non-classical) Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin's lymphoma (5 %)
  2. Classical Hodgkin's lymphoma
    1. Nodular sclerosing (60 - 80 %)
    2. Lymphocyte-rich (5 %)
    3. Mixed cellularity (15 - 30 %)
    4. Lymphocyte depleted (< 1 %)

Variants of Reed-Sternberg cell (RSC) :

  • Hodgkin's cell (atypical mononuclear Reed-Sternberg cell (RSC)
  • Lacunar Reed-Sternberg cell (RSC)
  • Pleomorphic Reed-Sternberg cell (RSC)
  • Limfo-histiocytic ("pop-corn") variant
  • "Mummy" Reed-Sternberg cell (RSC)
Reed-Sternberg cell

Hodgkin's lymphoma (H&E, ob.x20)
Typical Reed-Sternberg cell : size between 20 - 50 microns; abundant, amphofilic, finely granular/homogenous cytoplasm; two mirror-image nuclei ("owl eyes") each with an eosinophilic nucleolus and a thick nuclear membrane (chromatin is distributed on the inner surface of the nuclear membrane, generating a halo image around the nucleolus).



Sternberg-Reed cell (II)
Reed-Sternberg cell (2)

Hodgkin's lymphoma. Variants of Reed-Sternberg cell (H&E, ob.x20) :

  • Hodgkin's cell (atypical mononuclear Reed-Sternberg cell is a variant of Reed-Sternberg cell, which has the same characteristics, but is mononucleated
  • Lacunar Reed-Sternberg cell is large, with a single hyperlobated nucleus, multiple, small nucleoli and eosinophilic cytoplasm which is retracted around the nucleus, creating an empty space ("lacunae")
  • Pleomorphic Reed-Sternberg cell has multiple irregular nuclei
  • "Pop-corn" Reed-Sternberg cell (lympho-histiocytic variant) is a small cell, with a very lobulated nucleus, small nucleoli.
  • "Mummy" Reed-Sternberg cell has a compact nucleus, no nucleolus and basophilic cytoplasm
Last updated : 01/30/2009