FOXP3 positive regulatory T-cells in cutaneous and systemic CD30 positive T-cell lymphoproliferations

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Abstract

The CD30-positive lymphoproliferations encompass a spectrum of disorders that share histological and phenotypic similarities but differ markedly in clinical behaviour. The basis for this diversity is not known, but it has been proposed that immune suppression by cytokines and/or regulatory T-cells (Tregs) may be implicated. In this study, skin biopsies from lymphomatoid papulosis (LyP) (n = 14), primary cutaneous anaplastic large cells lymphoma (C-ALCL) (n = 13) and systemic anaplastic large cells lymphoma (S-ALCL) with (n = 9) or without (n = 6) ALK expression were examined by immunohistology for FOXP3 expression in tumour cells and tumour infiltrating Tregs. Labelling of a majority of the neoplastic cells was seen in one case of C-ALCL. Another three cases (one LyP and two C-ALCL) displayed weak labelling of very occasional atypical T-cells. In the remaining 38 cases the atypical lymphoid infiltrate was FOXP3 negative. By contrast, all biopsies contained tumour infiltrating FOXP3-positive Tregs. Significant higher numbers were recorded in ALK negative S-ALCL and LyP than in C-ALCL and S-ALCL positive for ALK. In conclusion, it is shown that FOXP3 expression in cutaneous and systemic CD30-positive lymphoproliferations is generally confined to tumour infiltrating Tregs. These cells may have influence upon the clinical behaviour, possibly depending upon the net degree of Treg mediated immune suppression of tumour cells relative to tumour infiltrating, cytotoxic effector cells, thereby implicating the more favourable outcome of LyP compared to C-ALCL.

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