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Dermatology. 2005;211(3):281-5.

Fatal CD8+ epidermotropic cytotoxic primary cutaneous T-cell lymphoma with multiorgan involvement.

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  • 1Institute of Dermatological Sciences, University of Milan - IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore of Milan, Italy.


A 70-year-old woman presented with a 3-month history of two ulcerated erythematous-violaceous nodular lesions over the nose and forehead, respectively. The patient's history included a similar cutaneous nodule on the glabella diagnosed as pseudolymphoma 2 years ago. At that time, despite the diagnosis of a benign disease, an adequate staging was performed, ruling out any extracutaneous involvement. During hospitalization, multiple purpuric papules developed over the abdomen, and the disease spread to mediastinal lymph nodes, lungs and the central nervous system. Based on the histologic, immunophenotypic and molecular biology findings, a diagnosis of CD8+ epidermotropic cytotoxic primary cutaneous T-cell lymphoma was made. Secondary skin involvement by a CD8+ extracutaneous T-cell lymphoma could not be excluded with certainty, but seemed to be unlikely because of the negativity of the initial workup. The patient died from complications of right femoral artery thrombosis before starting specific polychemotherapy 21 months after onset of the disease. Among primary cutaneous T-cell lymphomas, the CD8+ epidermotropic cytotoxic subset comprises rare, highly aggressive forms characterized by metastatic spread to unusual sites such as the oral cavity, lungs, testis and the central nervous system but usually not to the lymph nodes. These cases seem to be distinct from mycosis fungoides with CD8+ phenotype, which shows a nonaggressive clinical behavior.

Copyright 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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