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J Cutan Pathol. 2012 Jun;39(6):651-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0560.2012.01872.x. Epub 2012 Feb 11.

Use of an expanded immunohistochemical panel to distinguish cutaneous Hodgkin lymphoma from histopathologic imitators.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of California-San Francisco, 1701 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.


In lymph nodes, classical Hodgkin lymphoma can typically be distinguished from non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) by the presence of Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells that co-express CD30 and CD15. However, anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) can show identical features, and some cases of classical Hodgkin lymphoma lack CD15 expression, rendering them difficult to differentiate from CD30-positive NHL. The differential diagnosis of cutaneous Hodgkin lymphoma similarly includes ALCL and DLBCL, and, additionally, tumors of mycosis fungoides. Recent studies have shown that classical Hodgkin lymphoma is of B-cell origin in virtually all cases, and shows at least focal weak expression of the B-cell marker PAX5 and often focal weak expression and no expression of the B-cell markers Oct-2 and BOB.1, respectively. All three of these markers are almost invariably absent in T-cell lymphomas and are strongly expressed in B-cell lymphomas. We report a 40-year-old man with classical Hodgkin lymphoma who developed cutaneous nodules. A biopsy from one revealed Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg cells with a similar immunophenotype to the diagnostic lymph node biopsy, namely CD30+/CD15+, diffusely but weakly PAX5+, focally weakly Oct-2+ and lacking BOB.1 expression, thereby confirming a diagnosis of cutaneous Hodgkin lymphoma. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the expression pattern of the combination of PAX5, Oct-2 and BOB.1 in the context of cutaneous involvement by Hodgkin lymphoma.

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