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Am J Dermatopathol. 2006 Feb;28(1):9-12.

Rimming of adipocytes by neoplastic lymphocytes: a histopathologic feature not restricted to subcutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Graz, Austria.


Subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma (SPTCL) is a rare cytotoxic T-cell lymphoma of the skin presenting with histopathologic features simulating those of a lobular panniculitis. The presence of neoplastic T-lymphocytes forming a rim around the individual fat cells in the subcutaneous lobules, so-called "rimming" of adipocytes, is considered a characteristic morphologic feature of this type of cutaneous lymphoma. In this study we reviewed a series of 45 biopsy specimens of primary and secondary cutaneous B- and T-cell lymphomas and one of myeloid leukemia involving the subcutaneous tissues and showing rimming of adipocytes (subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma: n = 16; mycosis fungoides, tumor stage: n = 3; aggressive epidermotropic CD8(+) T-cell lymphoma: n = 2; cutaneous gamma/delta T-cell lymphoma: n = 4; extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type: n = 4; cutaneous medium-large pleomorphic T-cell lymphoma, NOS: n = 5; CD4(+)/CD56(+) hematodermic neoplasm (blastic NK-cell lymphoma): n = 7; secondary cutaneous large B-cell lymphoma: n = 3; secondary cutaneous lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma: n = 1; specific cutaneous manifestations of acute myelogenous leukemia: n = 1). We could demonstrate that rimming of adipocytes by neoplastic cells can be recognized not only in subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma, but also in several different entities of malignant lymphoma with skin involvement. Precise classification of cases with prominent involvement of the subcutaneous tissues can only be achieved upon precise correlation of clinicopathologic and phenotypic features. Rimming of adipocytes should not be considered specific of subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma.

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