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Primary cutaneous T-cell lymphomas: a review
  1. Konstantinos G Sidiropoulos1,
  2. M Estela Martinez-Escala2,
  3. Oriol Yelamos2,
  4. Joan Guitart2,
  5. Michael Sidiropoulos1,3,4
  1. 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  2. 2Department of Dermatology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  3. 3Department of Pathology, Lakeridge Health, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael Sidiropoulos, Department of Pathology, Lakeridge Health, 1 Hospital Court, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada L1G 2B9; michael.sidiropoulos{at}


Primary cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCLs) represent a number of extranodal lymphomas arising from a malignant population of lymphocytes in the skin, with the most common type being mycosis fungoides (MF) representing half of all primary CTCLs. Despite advances in immunohistochemistry and molecular methodology, significant diagnostic challenges remain due to phenotypic overlap of primary CTCLs with several inflammatory dermatoses, secondary lymphomas, among other conditions. Clinical features such as presentation and morphology, staging, histology, immunophenotype and molecular features must be considered in detail before a diagnosis is made in order to minimise false-positive, false-negative and indeterminate diagnoses. Herein, we review primary CTCLs, including epidemiological data, a brief summary of clinical presentations, immunophenotype, molecular signatures and differential diagnoses.

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