The Role of Molecular Analysis in Cutaneous Lymphomas

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Abstract

The purpose of this review is to summarize the most important molecular techniques for the diagnosis of cutaneous lymphomas. When making a diagnosis, we are looking for the solid clinicopathological correlation. Molecular analysis includes immunophenotyping and clonality analysis, and is important for 2 principal reasons: (1) to confirm the diagnosis in cases where the clinical and/or pathological presentations are nondiagnostic, and (2) to further characterize the nature of the lymphoma. More specifically, we are trying to discern whether the lymphoma is primarily cutaneous or systemic with secondary skin involvement, and we are also attempting to subclassify the tumor. Recently, many techniques have provided a more accurate diagnosis of cutaneous lymphomas and some prognostic implications, including polymerase chain reaction, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and flow cytometry. Fluorescence in situ hybridization is not routinely used in the diagnosis of cutaneous lymphoma, but many studies have shown potential future applications in various areas. Other techniques, such as comparative genomic hybridization, are still confined to the research arena, but have added some insight into the molecular pathogenesis of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

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