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Nodal peripheral T-cell lymphomas and, in particular, their lymphoepithelioid (Lennert's) variant are often derived from CD8(+) cytotoxic T-cells.
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Nodal peripheral T-cell lymphomas are not well understood, and most of them are classified in the "not otherwise specified group" (PTCL-NOS). Data on their normal cellular derivation are ambiguous. Most peripheral T-cell lymphomas are composed of tumor cells and a ( sometimes dominant) reactive background, which also includes resting and activated T-lymphocytes. We defined the phenotype of the tumor cells in 101 PTCL-NOS based on their cytological atypia and using immunohistochemical double stains on paraffin sections with CD4/Ki67 and CD8/Ki67. The results were correlated to clinical presentation and outcome. Lineage could be defined in 98 cases (97%). Tumor cells were CD4(+) in 43 cases and CD8(+) in 38. These presented at a younger age but a higher clinical stage compared with the CD4(+) lymphomas. In 15 cases, the atypical cells were CD4(-)CD8(-); two cases were CD4(+) CD8(+). Of 17 lymphoepithelioid (Lennert's) lymphomas, 15 expressed CD8, one each was CD4(+) and CD4(-)CD8(-).
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