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Am J Surg Pathol. 2002 Oct;26(10):1259-68.

Cutaneous lymphomas with prominent granulomatous reaction: a potential pitfall in the histopathologic diagnosis of cutaneous T- and B-cell lymphomas.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.


The presence of a granulomatous reaction in lesions of cutaneous lymphomas has been described in the past in several cases. Especially in mycosis fungoides, a "granulomatous" variant of the disease has been well characterized. We studied the clinicopathologic features of cutaneous lymphomas with prominent granulomatous reaction, including both cutaneous T-cell lymphomas and B-cell lymphomas (primary cutaneous lymphoma 22, secondary cutaneous lymphoma one). Biopsies of 23 patients with histopathologic features of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma or cutaneous B-cell lymphoma with prominent granulomatous reaction were included in this study. A prominent granulomatous reaction was defined as the presence of a granulomatous component exceeding 25% of the dermal infiltrate. There were 14 cases of mycosis fungoides, two of subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma, four of small/medium pleomorphic T-cell lymphoma, one of follicle center cell lymphoma, one of large B-cell lymphoma, and one of secondary cutaneous peripheral T-cell lymphoma. Altogether, a prominent granulomatous reaction could be observed in 1.8% of all patients with cutaneous lymphoma (primary or secondary) registered in the files of the Department of Dermatology of the University of Graz (Graz, Austria), demonstrating that there is a distinct, albeit small, proportion of cases revealing this peculiar reaction pattern. In seven cases a misdiagnosis of granulomatous dermatitis preceded the correct diagnosis for a period of 1-216 months, suggesting that sequential biopsies and complete phenotypic and molecular genetic analyses should be carried out in cases of "unusual" granulomatous dermatitis.

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