Clinical implications of immunologic phenotyping in cutaneous T cell lymphoma

Eric C. Vonderheid, Elizabeth Tan, Eugene L. Sobel, Edna Schwab, Bizhan Micaily, Brian V. Jegasothy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The composition of cutaneous lesions from 158 patients with confirmed cutaneous T cell lymphoma, 91 patients with suspected cutaneous T cell lymphoma, and 145 patients with lymphoid disorders other than cutaneous T cell lymphoma was quantitated in situ with the use of commercially available murine monoclonal antibodies that identify the Pan T, T-helper/inducer (T(h)), T cytotoxic/suppressor (T(s)), and Pan B lymphocyte subsets. On average, cutaneous infiltrates of confirmed cutaneous T cell lymphoma were found to contain significantly more T(h) and less T(s) or Pan B cells compared to benign lymphoid disorders. Moreover, when analyzed in terms of the type of lesion examined by biopsy, the absolute amount of T(h) cells progressively expands with increasing magnitudes of infiltrate in the dermis while the amount of T(s) and Pan B cells remains relatively constant among lesions. A useful diagnostic criterion (anti-Leu 1/4 ≥ 70% and anti-Leu 3a/anti-Leu 2a ratio ≥ 6) correctly discriminated between cutaneous T cell lymphoma and non-cutaneous T cell lymphoma in 87.5% of cases. A positive immunodiagnostic result also may be useful for the prediction of subsequent histopathologic confirmation of cutaneous T cell lymphoma in patients who have suspect lymphoid infiltrates, such as alopecia mucinosis or idiopathic generalized erythroderma, when first seen. With the use of multivariate analysis, stage and possibly the percentage of T(h) cells within the T cell component in cutaneous infiltrates were covariates with significant relationships to survival in patients with confirmed cutaneous T cell lymphoma. In addition, T(s) cells in infiltrates did not correlate significantly with observed responses to topical treatment and subsequent course in pretumorous mycosis fungoides. These results indicate that T(s) cells play little biologic role in modifying the natural history of cutaneous T cell lymphoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-52
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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