: Tumor growth, progression, and metastatic capability in non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs) are influenced by different component of tumor microenvironment, including inflammatory cells. Among these latter, mast cells play a crucial role. The spatial distribution of mast cells inside the tumor stroma of different types of B-cell NHLs has not yet been investigated. The aim of this study is to analyze the pattern of distribution of mast cells in biopsy samples obtained from three different types of B-cell NHLs by utilizing an image analysis system and a mathematical model to allow a quantitative estimation to characterize their spatial distribution. As concerns the spatial distributions exhibited by mast cells in diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL), some clustering was detected in both activated B-like (ABC) and germinal center B-like (GBC) groups. In follicular lymphoma (FL), mast cell spatial distribution tends to uniformly fill the tissue space as far as the grade of the pathology increases. Finally, in marginal lymphoma tissue (MALT) lymphoma, mast cells maintain a significantly clustered spatial distribution, suggesting a lower tendency of the cells to fill the tissue space in this pathological condition. Overall, the data of this study confirm that the analysis of the spatial distribution of the tumor cells is of particular significance for the knowledge of the biological processes occurring in tumor stroma and for the development of parameters to characterize the morphologic organization of the cellular patterns in different types of tumors.
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