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Arch Dermatol. 2011 Aug;147(8):943-7. doi: 10.1001/archdermatol.2011.187.

Clonal T-cell receptor β-chain gene rearrangements in differential diagnosis of lymphomatoid papulosis from skin metastasis of nodal anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

Erratum in

  • Arch Dermatol. 2012 Oct;148(10):1218.



In patients with a history of nodal anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL), differentiation of type C lymphomatoid papulosis from cutaneous involvement of systemic ALCL may be challenging because the 2 entities may exhibit identical histologic features. Although metastatic ALCL generally carries the same clone as the primary lymphoma, expression of a distinct clone likely represents a distinct process.


A 54-year-old white man had a history of anaplastic lymphoma kinase 1-negative ALCL in the right inguinal lymph node 6 years ago. A complete response was achieved after 6 cycles of CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine [Oncovin], and prednisone administered in 21-day cycles) and radiation therapy. After 3½ years, the patient observed waxing and waning papules and nodules. Examination of the biopsy specimen revealed a dense CD30(+) lymphocytic infiltrate; no evidence of systemic malignancy was evident on positron emission tomography. Although clinically the presentation was consistent with lymphomatoid papulosis, metastatic ALCL had to be excluded. Polymerase chain reaction analysis with T-cell receptor γ-chain gene rearrangement (TCR-γR) was performed on the original lymph node and new skin lesions. Results of the TCR-γR analysis were positive for clonality in both lesions. However, separate clonal processes were identified. The identification of distinct clones supported the clinical impression of lymphomatoid papulosis.


Polymerase chain reaction analysis of TCR-γR is a useful method for distinguishing different clonal processes and is recommended when differentiation of primary and secondary lymphoproliferative disorders is required.

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