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Nodal peripheral T-cell lymphomas and, in particular, their lymphoepithelioid (Lennert’s) variant are often derived from CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells


Nodal peripheral T-cell lymphomas are not well understood, and most of them are classified in the “not otherwise specified group” (PTCL-NOS). Data on their normal cellular derivation are ambiguous. Most peripheral T-cell lymphomas are composed of tumor cells and a (sometimes dominant) reactive background, which also includes resting and activated T-lymphocytes. We defined the phenotype of the tumor cells in 101 PTCL-NOS based on their cytological atypia and using immunohistochemical double stains on paraffin sections with CD4/Ki67 and CD8/Ki67. The results were correlated to clinical presentation and outcome. Lineage could be defined in 98 cases (97%). Tumor cells were CD4+ in 43 cases and CD8+ in 38. These presented at a younger age but a higher clinical stage compared with the CD4+ lymphomas. In 15 cases, the atypical cells were CD4CD8; two cases were CD4+CD8+. Of 17 lymphoepithelioid (Lennert’s) lymphomas, 15 expressed CD8, one each was CD4+ and CD4CD8.

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This work was partly supported by a grant from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation.

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Correspondence to Thomas Rüdiger.

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Geissinger, E., Odenwald, T., Lee, S. et al. Nodal peripheral T-cell lymphomas and, in particular, their lymphoepithelioid (Lennert’s) variant are often derived from CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells. Virchows Arch 445, 334–343 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00428-004-1077-2

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  • T-cell lymphoma
  • Lennert’s lymphoma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Clinicopathological correlation
  • Phenotype