Primary cutaneous CD4-positive small/medium-sized pleomorphic T-cell lymphoma: A clonal T-cell lymphoproliferative disorder with indolent behavior

Karen L. Grogg, Sungmi Jung, Lori A. Erickson, Rebecca F. McClure, Ahmet Dogan

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102 Scopus citations


Primary cutaneous CD4-positive small/medium-sized pleomorphic T-cell lymphoma, a provisional entity in the 2005 WHO-EORTC classification for cutaneous lymphomas, is not well characterized. Fifteen cases meeting the definition of this entity were identified. Fourteen represented solitary lesions on the head/neck (n=9), upper extremity (n=4), or trunk (n=1). One patient presented with multiple lesions on the trunk and extremities. Histologically, the infiltrate showed a nodular pattern in the dermis and subcutis without epidermotropism, and had a polymorphous composition with a predominance of small to medium-sized CD4-positive T cells. Most cases showed normal T-cell antigen expression; diminished/absent expression of CD7 was seen in three cases and CD2 expression was absent in one case. All cases showed a notable reactive infiltrate including frequent B cells, plasma cells, and histiocytes. Clonal TCR gene rearrangements were detected in each case. No clonal Ig gene rearrangements were detected. Out of the 11 patients with follow-up, none showed systemic disease. The majority resolved without relapse, one without treatment, four with excision, and four with radiation therapy. One patient developed local recurrence. The patient with multiple lesions had disease progression despite chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. These cases highlight the polymorphous histology and prominent reactive B-cell component of this entity. Diagnosis requires molecular genetic analysis, as prominent cytologic atypia and immunophenotypic aberrancy are rare. The differential diagnosis includes reactive lymphoid hyperplasia, mycosis fungoides and cutaneous B-cell lymphomas. In patients with isolated cutaneous lesions, the indolent behavior of this rare T-cell neoplasm should be recognized to avoid unnecessary treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-715
Number of pages8
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 8 2008



  • CD4
  • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • Pleomorphic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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