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Mod Pathol. 2005 Dec;18(12):1542-9.

Rare expression of T-cell markers in classical Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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Institute of Pathology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.


Hodgkin's and Reed-Sternberg cells of classical Hodgkin's lymphoma are primarily of B-cell origin, although there are instances of T-cell antigen expression suggesting T-cell origin. We comprehensively analyzed expression of various T-cell antigens in 259 classical Hodgkin's lymphoma cases using the tissue microarray technique. Expression of the T-cell antigens CD2, CD3, CD4, CD5, CD7 and CD8 was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Hodgkin's and Reed-Sternberg cells of T-cell marker-positive cases were microdissected and analyzed by a multiplex polymerase chain reaction for clonal immunoglobulin heavy chain- and T-cell receptor gamma gene rearrangements. In all, 12 cases (5%) expressed at least one T-cell marker in the following order: CD2 in 11 cases, CD4 in five, CD3 in two, and CD5 and CD8 in one case each; there were no CD7-positive cases, and five cases (2%) expressed more than one T-cell antigen. In positive cases, a mean fraction of 40% of the Hodgkin's and Reed-Sternberg cells (range 20-100%) expressed the analyzed T-cell markers. Two cases (<1%) evidenced clonal T-cell receptor gamma gene rearrangement. Phenotypic expression of T-cell antigens in Hodgkin's and Reed-Sternberg cells of classical Hodgkin's lymphoma is rare (5%), while genotypically, less than 1% of classical Hodgkin's lymphomas are of possible T-cell origin. Therefore, T-cell antigen expression on Hodgkin's and Reed-Sternberg cells is aberrant in the majority of cases and only infrequently classical Hodgkin's lymphomas are of T-cell origin.

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