In situ study of T-cell subpopulations in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Diagnostic criteria

A. Chu, J. Patterson, C. Berger, E. Vonderheid, R. Edelson

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29 Scopus citations


The T-cell subpopulations present in skin biopsy specimens from 91 patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and from 19 patients with benign lymphocytic infiltrates of the skin were examined in situ to define criteria for the differentiation of benign from malignant lymphocytic infiltrates. The monoclonal antibodies OKT 1 (pan T-cell), BE 3 (pan T-cell), OKT 4 (helper/inducer T-cell), OKT 6 (cortical thymocyte and Langerhans' cell), OKT 8 (suppressor T-cell), and OKT 10 (pan thymocyte) were used in direct or indirect immunoperoxidase reactions. Sections were examined at high magnification, and the distribution and percentage of cells reactive with each antibody were assessed. Three main patterns of staining were observed in the CTCL patients; (1) 64% of the biopsy specimens showed that 60% of the cells persent in the dermis were T-cells that were OKT 1+ and BE 3+ and there was an even distribution of the different T-cell subpopulations, with 54% being OKT 4+ and 8%; (2) 21% patients showed selective loss of OKT 1 antigen, and 80% of these also showed loss of BE 3 antigen; and (3) 15% patients showed large numbers of OKT 8+ cells (range, 50%-90%) but the percentages of OKT 1+ and OKT 4+ cells were within the ranges seen in Group 1, indicating the presence of a population of T-cells simultaneously expressing OKT 4 (helper/inducer) and OKT 8 (suppressor) reactivity. In 95% of the CTCL patients, 3.5% OKT 6+ cells were present in the dermal infiltrate, and in 92% of patients, 3% OKT 10+ cells were present. Comparing sections from CTCL and benign dermatoses, no single diagnostic feature was identified, but helpful differentiating features were; (1) the even, rather than nodular, distribution of the T-cell subpopulation; (2) the selective loss of OKT 1 and BE 3 antigens; (3) the presence of T-cells simultaneously expressing OKT 4 and OKT 8 antigens; and (4) the presence of OKT 10+ cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2414-2422
Number of pages9
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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