Characteristic Distribution Pattern of CD30-positive Cytotoxic T Cells Aids Diagnosis of Kikuchi-Fujimoto Disease

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Abstract

Introduction:

Histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis (or Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease) frequently occurs in Asian young adult females and typically presents as cervical lymphadenopathy with unknown etiology. Although large immunoblasts frequently appear in Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease, the diffuse infiltration of these cells can cause difficulty in establishing a differential diagnosis from lymphoma. In such cases, CD30 immunostaining may be used; however, the extent or distribution pattern of CD30-positive cells in Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease remains largely unknown. Here we investigated the expression of CD30 and its clinicopathologic significance.

Materials and Methods:

We investigated 30 Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease and 16 control [6, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); 10, reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (RLH)] cases.

Results:

The number of CD30-positive cells in Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease was significantly more than that in SLE and RLH, and majority of these cells were located around necrotic areas. Moreover, double immunohistochemical staining showed these CD30-positive cells to be CD8-positive cytotoxic T cells, suggesting that activated cytotoxic T cells around necrotic areas are a characteristic feature of this disease. Clinicopathologic analysis showed that cases with abundant CD30-positive cells were predominantly female with only mild symptoms and normal laboratory data.

Conclusions:

In Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease cases, CD30-positive cytotoxic T cells were abundant around necrotic areas; this histologic feature may be helpful to differentiate this disease from SLE and RLH.

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