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  • Hodgkins v Non-Hodgkins
  • CD15
  • CD30

 Hodgkins and Non-Hodgkins lymphoma can be differentiated by the presence of reed-sternberg cells in hodgkins lymphoma. This difference is important as the prognosis based on this with the outcome from radiation treatment markedly more successful in hodgkins, compared to non-hodgkins.

Both types of lymphoma are linked with infection by epstein barr virus, although its exact pathology has yet to be determined in how this leads to the developement of lymphoma.

CD15 is present on almost all Reed–Sternberg cells, including their rare mononuclear variants, and, as such, can be used in immunohistochemistry to identify the presence of such cells in biopsies. The presence of these cells is diagnostic of Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Immunohistochemical panels for the diagnosis of Hodgkins disease typically employ CD15 along with CD30. CD15 is also present in about 50% of adenocarcinoma cells and can be used to distinguish such conditions from mesothelioma, which is typically negative.

CD 15 has a cytoplasmic and membranous staining pattern as shown in the lymph node image below, where the typical reed-sternberg cells of hodgkin lymphoma are stained up..

Picture 1 – CD 15 positivity in hodgkin lymphoma


CD15 has several different applications. Below are a few examples.


CD 15 + or -

Hodgkin Lymphoma


Sebaceous tumour


Merkel cell carcinoma

Variable positive in about 85% of cases, but has specificity issues

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma


CD 30 is like CD 15, positive in staining up reed-sternberg cells in hodgkins lymphoma and is often employed when making a diagnosis. This is also useful for differentiation of other tumours as well.

CD 30 has a membraneous staining pattern as shown in the image below.

Picture 2 – CD 30 positivity in classical hodgkins lymphoma


CD 30 has several different applications. Below are a few examples.


CD 30 + or -

Classical Hodgkins lymphoma


Anaplastic large cell lymphoma


Embryonal carinoma


Non-hodgkins lymphoma