T-cell clonality analysis in biopsy specimens from two different skin sites shows high specificity in the diagnosis of patients with suggested mycosis fungoides

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Stacy E ThurberSabine Kohler


The diagnosis of mycosis fungoides (MF) is often difficult because of significant clinical and histopathologic overlap with inflammatory dermatoses. T-cell receptor (TCR)gamma chain rearrangement by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (TCR-PCR) is a helpful adjuvant tool in this setting, but several of the inflammatory dermatoses in the differential diagnosis of MF may contain a clonal T-cell proliferation. We examined whether analysis for T-cell clonality and comparison of the clones with the standardized BIOMED-2 PCR multiplex primers for the TCRgamma chain from two anatomically distinct skin sites improves diagnostic accuracy. We examined two biopsy specimens each from 10 patients with unequivocal MF, from 18 patients with inflammatory dermatoses, and from 18 patients who could initially not be definitively given a diagnosis based on clinical and histopathologic criteria. Eight of 10 patients with unequivocal MF had an identical clone in both biopsy specimens. Two of 18 patients with inflammatory dermatoses were found to have a clone in one of the biopsy specimens. On further follow-up of the 18 patients with morphologically nondiagnostic biopsy specimens, 13 of 18 were later confirmed to have MF and 5 of 18 had inflammatory der...Continue Reading


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