Introduction: Primary mantle cell lymphoma of the esophagus is quite rare, and we report here a case of a submucosal polypoid tumor of the esophagus that was pathologically similar, but not identical, to mantle cell lymphoma. Case presentation: A 66-year-old man underwent surgery in our hospital for a submucosal tumor of the esophagus. Histopathologically, the submucosal tumor uniformly showed a vague, nodular pattern composed of a regular proliferation of CD3-CD10-CD20+CD79a+bcl2+ small lymphoid cells with islands of abortive CD10+Ki67+ germinal centers, without evidence of marginal zone formation or lymphoepithelial lesions. These features were consistent with mantle cell lymphoma. However, the proliferating cells weakly expressed the D-type cyclins, IgD and IgM. The tumor was diagnosed as a "mantle cell lymphoma-like tumor". Postoperative examination confirmed no tumour involvement in other organs. The patient was treated with rituximab postoperatively and has been disease free for more than 28 months after surgery. Conclusion: The present case might be regarded as a "hyperplastic change of the mantle zone" without the molecular features of mantle cell lymphoma, a case that adds to the limited clinicopathological data on B-lymphoproliferative diseases of the esophagus.
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