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Am J Dermatopathol. 2010 Feb;32(1):83-5. doi: 10.1097/DAD.0b013e3181b15cd4.

Extranodal natural killer cell/t-cell lymphoma, nasal type, presenting as cutaneous nodules and a small-bowel perforation.

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Department of Dermatology, Brigham Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Extranodal natural killer (NK) cell/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type, is a rare aggressive neoplasm, most commonly presenting as a destructive lesion in the nasal cavity and nasopharynx in middle-aged to older adults. About one third of cases present in an extranasal location, commonly involving skin and gastrointestinal tract, and usually occur in the absence of superficial lymphadenopathy. Diagnosis of this malignancy can be missed given its rarity and heterogeneous presentation. We describe a patient with an extranodal NK cell/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type, who was initially diagnosed and treated for a presumed Mycobacterium marinum infection, after biopsies were unrevealing. However, after more serious complications developed, repeat biopsy was performed. An atypical lymphocytic infiltrate was noted, with cells being positive for NK cell/T-cell markers CD2, CD7, and CD3 (subset), as well as for cytotoxic lymphocyte markers perforin, T-cell intracellular antigen, and CD56. In situ hybridization for Epstein-Barr virus-encoded RNA was also positive. This case demonstrates an important diagnostic pitfall of confusing cutaneous involvement by an aggressive NK cell/T-cell lymphoma with an antibiotic-resistant infection. Repeat biopsies and close clinicopathologic correlation are essential for establishment of correct diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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