© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aims: Rare cases of B cell lymphomas do not express conventional B cell markers (CD20, CD79a and PAX5), and these types of lymphomas include anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive large B cell lymphoma, plasmablastic lymphoma, primary effusion lymphoma and the solid variant of primary effusion lymphoma, extracavitary human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8)-positive large B cell lymphoma. Establishing accurate diagnoses of these B cell lymphomas can be challenging, and often requires a large panel of immunohistochemical stains, molecular assays and cytogenetic studies. B cell-specific transcription factors, Oct2 and Bob1, have been shown to be expressed consistently in most, if not all, B cell lymphomas, and therefore we investigated the utility of Oct2 and Bob1 immunohistochemistry in lineage determination of the aforementioned B cell lymphomas. Methods and results: We selected 34 cases of previously diagnosed B cell lymphomas with no or weak expression of CD20, CD79a and PAX5. Oct2 and Bob1 were positive in 74% (25 of 34) and 85% (29 of 34) of the cases, respectively. When we combined the results of these two immunostains, 94% (32 of 34) cases expressed at least one of these two markers. We also included 51 control cases of non-B cell neoplasms, and none of them expressed either Oct2 or Bob1. Conclusions: Oct2 and Bob1 are very reliable in determining B cell lineage in the absence of expression of other pan-B cell markers, and it should provide great diagnostic benefit to include them both in a panel of immunohistochemistry to assess undifferentiated malignant neoplasms.