Background: Chronic atopic eczema is not regarded as a precursor of malignancy, and, to our knowledge, there has been only one previous case report of CD30(+) cutaneous lymphoma in association with atopic dermatitis.
Observations: We report 4 cases of CD30(+) lymphoproliferative disease in young adult patients with active atopic eczema dating from early childhood. Three patients developed primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma, of whom 2 developed systemic disease and 1 died. The other patient developed lymphomatoid papulosis type A, which resolved after withdrawal of cyclosporine therapy. No other patient had received immunosuppressive therapy. Three had been treated with phototherapy, and 2 of these patients exhibited positive immunostaining for p53 within a proportion of the tumor cell population.
Conclusions: Although we have not been able to establish a causative link, we believe that the association of these 2 conditions has not occurred by chance. Biopsies of lesional skin from subjects with atopic eczema exhibit a proportion of CD30 cells, and clonal transformation of this subpopulation might account for the CD30(+) lymphomas in our patients.