Mucosal CD30-positive T-cell lymphoproliferations of the head and neck show a clinicopathologic spectrum similar to cutaneous CD30-positive T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders

Mod Pathol. 2012 Jul;25(7):983-92. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2012.38. Epub 2012 Mar 2.


CD30-positive T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders are classified as cutaneous (primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma and lymphomatoid papulosis) or systemic. As extent of disease dictates prognosis and treatment, patients with skin involvement need clinical staging to determine whether systemic lymphoma also is present. Similar processes may involve mucosal sites of the head and neck, constituting a spectrum that includes both neoplasms and reactive conditions (eg, traumatic ulcerative granuloma with stromal eosinophilia). However, no standard classification exists for mucosal CD30-positive T-cell lymphoproliferations. To improve our understanding of these processes, we identified 15 such patients and examined clinical presentation, treatment and outcome, morphology, phenotype using immunohistochemistry, and genetics using gene rearrangement studies and fluorescence in situ hybridization. The 15 patients (11 M, 4 F; mean age, 57 years) had disease involving the oral cavity/lip/tongue (9), orbit/conjunctiva (3) or nasal cavity/sinuses (3). Of 14 patients with staging data, 7 had mucosal disease only; 2 had mucocutaneous disease; and 5 had systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Patients with mucosal or mucocutaneous disease only had a favorable prognosis and none developed systemic spread (follow-up, 4-93 months). Three of five patients with systemic disease died of lymphoma after 1-48 months. Morphologic and phenotypic features were similar regardless of extent of disease. One anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive case was associated with systemic disease. Two cases had rearrangements of the DUSP22-IRF4 locus on chromosome 6p25.3, seen most frequently in primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Our findings suggest mucosal CD30-positive T-cell lymphoproliferations share features with cutaneous CD30-positive T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders, and require clinical staging for stratification into primary and secondary types. Primary cases have clinicopathologic features closer to primary cutaneous disease than to systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma, including indolent clinical behavior. Understanding the spectrum of mucosal CD30-positive T-cell lymphoproliferations is important to avoid possible overtreatment resulting from a diagnosis of overt T-cell lymphoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / classification*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Ki-1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / classification*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell / pathology*
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucous Membrane / metabolism
  • Mucous Membrane / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Phenotype
  • Young Adult


  • Ki-1 Antigen