Cutaneous Follicular B-Cell Lymphoma: Description of a Series of 18 Cases

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The lack of precise and homogeneous criteria for the recognition of primary cutaneous follicular lymphoma has hindered gaining data on the frequency and clinical and molecular features of this entity. In the course of a review of a series of primary cutaneous lymphoma from different Spanish hospitals, we collected a series of 18 cases of primary cutaneous follicular lymphoma and analyzed its clinical, morphologic, and biologic characteristics. In this review only cases with a follicular pattern of growth, germinal center cytology, and restriction to the skin in a minimum follow-up of 6 months have been included. Cases of primary cutaneous follicular lymphoma were characterized by the expression of classic markers of the germinal center, such as bcl6, CD10, and the presence of aggregates of follicular dendritic cells. They frequently express bcl2 protein, although classical t(14;18) was not found in any of the cases analyzed. Analysis of the bcl6 noncodifying first exon showed somatic mutations in two of four cases analyzed, as would be expected in lymphoma deriving from the germinal center. Clinically, most cases showed initial involvement of the head and neck, with relapses in eight cases (involving the skin in five cases, both skin and lymph node in two cases, and lymph node in one case). No death attributable to the tumor was recorded. These data seem to imply that follicular lymphoma may present initially in the skin, lacking the characteristic t(14;18) and having a relatively indolent course. Recognition of these tumors and elucidation of their molecular alterations could lead to properly adapted staging and treatment protocols for these patients.

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