Seventy six peripheral T cell lymphomas were examined immunohistologically to test their reactivity with a panel of monoclonal antibodies against 11 T cell associated antigens (CD1-8, CD27, UCHL1, and the T cell antigen receptor). Sixty two (82%) lymphomas showed aberrant phenotypes, and four main categories were distinguished as follows: (i) lack of one or several pan-T cell antigens (49, 64% of the cases); (ii) loss of both the CD4 and CD8 antigens (11, 15% of the cases); (iii) coexpression of the CD4 and CD8 antigens (13, 17% of the cases); and (iv) expression of the CD1 antigen (eight, 11% of the cases). No correlation was seen between the occurrence of aberrant phenotypes and the histological subtype. It is concluded that the demonstration of an aberrant phenotype is a valuable supplement to histological assessment in the diagnosis of peripheral T cell lymphomas. It is recommended that the panel of monoclonal antibodies against T cell differentiation antigens should be fairly large, as apparently any antigen may be lost in the process of malignant transformation.
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