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Hum Pathol. 2006 Jan;37(1):32-9. Epub 2005 Nov 22.

Lesions resembling Langerhans cell histiocytosis in association with other lymphoproliferative disorders: a reactive or neoplastic phenomenon?

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Department of Pathology, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK.


Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) has been described in association with a variety of neoplasms preceding, after, or synchronous with the other tumor. In some cases, a neoplasm may arise as a complication of therapy for LCH, and in others, the association may be coincidental. Synchronous occurrence has been reported most commonly in association with malignant lymphoma in which discrete proliferations of Langerhans cells (LCs) histologically indistinguishable from LCH are seen. In most cases, these LCs are closely related to or intermingling with the primary pathology. The nature of LCs in this context remains elusive with debate as to whether they represent a true clonal neoplasm or an exaggerated reactive phenomenon. The lack of evidence for LCH progression or disease elsewhere strongly supports the latter. We have encountered 5 examples of LCH-like proliferations occurring in the context of other lymphoproliferative disorders. These include 2 cases of mycosis fungoides and 1 of cutaneous B-cell pseudolymphoma, associations that to our knowledge have not been described before. Two patients were female, and the clonality of the LC proliferation was assessed using laser capture microdissection and the human androgen receptor. The results showed that the LCs forming discrete nodules in a case of cutaneous B-cell pseudolymphoma and a case of Hodgkin's lymphoma were polyclonal. This suggests that, at least in a proportion of cases, the aggregates of LCs occasionally identified within other lymphoproliferative lesions represent a reactive proliferation rather than a potentially aggressive second neoplasm.

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