Phenotypic Variation in Different Lesions of Mycosis Fungoides Biopsied Within a Short Period of Time From the Same Patient

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Phenotypic variants of mycosis fungoides (MF) include mainly the expression of cytotoxic markers by neoplastic cells (either α/β or γ/δ cytotoxic). To manage the patient properly, distinction from other cutaneous cytotoxic natural killer/T-cell lymphomas is paramount. Particularly for cutaneous γ/δ T-cell lymphoma, distinction is often based on clinicopathologic correlation (presence of tumors at first diagnosis as opposed to patches only in MF). The authors report a case of cytotoxic MF characterized by expression of TCRγ in two of three biopsies performed within a time frame of 1 week. The patient presented with patches, plaques, and 1 tumor at the time of first diagnosis; thus, distinction from cutaneous γ/δ T-cell lymphoma was not possible on clinical grounds alone. The diagnosis of MF was established, thanks to the phenotypic variations revealed by the three biopsies, with 1 lacking expression of cytotoxic proteins (TIA-1 and granzyme B) and of TCRγ. This case shows the importance to perform several biopsies in cases of cutaneous lymphoma, as morphologic and phenotypic features are variable and information gathered from a single biopsy may result in a wrong diagnosis.

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