CD30 Expression by B and T Cells: A Frequent Finding in Angioimmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma and Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma-Not Otherwise Specified

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CD30 expression in peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) is currently of great interest because therapy targeting CD30 is of clinical benefit, but the clinical and therapeutic relevance of CD30 expression in these neoplasms still remains uncertain. The aim of this study was to better quantify CD30 expression in AITL and PTCL-not otherwise specified (NOS). The secondary objective was to determine whether CD30+ cells exhibit a B-cell or a T-cell phenotype. Gene expression profiling was studied in a series of 37 PTCL cases demonstrating a continuous spectrum of TNFRSF8 expression. This prompted us to study CD30 immunohistochemical (IHC) expression and mRNA levels by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in a different series of 51 cases (43 AITLs and 8 PTCL-NOSs) in routine samples. Double stainings with PAX5/CD30, CD3/CD30, and LEF1/CD30 were performed to study the phenotype of CD30+ cells. Most (90%) of the cases showed some level of CD30 expression by IHC (1% to 95%); these levels were high (>50% of tumoral cells) in 14% of cases. CD30 expression was not detected in 10% of the cases. Quantitative RT-PCR results largely confirmed these findings, demonstrating a moderately strong correlation between global CD30 IHC and mRNA levels (r=0.65, P=1.75e−7). Forty-four of the positive cases (98%) contained CD30-positive B cells (PAX5), whereas atypical CD30-positive T cells were detected in 42 cases (93%). In conclusion, our data show that most AITL and PTCL-NOS cases express CD30, exhibiting very variable levels of CD30 expression that may be measured by IHC or RT-PCR techniques.

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