Cytotoxic/natural killer cell cutaneous lymphomas. Report of EORTC Cutaneous Lymphoma Task Force Workshop.
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BACKGROUND: Cutaneous lymphomas expressing a cytotoxic or natural killer (NK) cell phenotype represent a group of lymphoproliferative disorders for which there is currently much confusion and little consensus regarding the best nomenclature and classification. METHODS: This study analyzes 48 cases of primary cutaneous lymphoma expressing cytotoxic proteins and/or the NK cell marker, CD56. These cases were collected for a workshop of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Cutaneous Lymphoma Task Force, to better clarify the clinical, morphologic, and phenotypic features of these uncommon tumors. RESULTS: Several categories with different clinical and pathologic features were delineated: 1) aggressive, CD8+, epidermotropic, cytotoxic T-cell lymphoma; 2) mycosis fungoides, cytotoxic immunophenotype variant; 3) subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma; 4) NK/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type; 5) CD4+, NK cell lymphoma; 6) blastoid NK cell lymphoma; (7) intravascular NK-like lymphoma; and 8) cytotoxic, peripheral T-cell lymphoma. CONCLUSIONS: Our data show that primary cutaneous cytotoxic/NK cell lymphomas include distinct groups of diseases, clinically, histologically, and biologically. Because the finding of a cytotoxic phenotype often has prognostic significance, the routine use of cytotoxic markers in the diagnosis and classification of cutaneous lymphomas should be expanded.