In order to determine if immunohistologic features are useful in distinguishing benign from malignant types of erythroderma, we studied the immunophenotype of lesional T cells in 20 patients (8 mycosis fungoides/Sézary syndrome, 12 benign) and found them to be generally similar. In all cases, the majority of T cells were Leu-1+, Leu-4+, and Leu-5+, as is typical of mature T cells. Although in most cases a majority of Leu-3+ (helper/phenotype) T cells were present, in 2 there was a majority of the Leu-2+ (cytotoxic/suppressor) subset and in 12 others, a significant minority (20%-40%) of these cells. Low percentages of Leu-2+ cells (less than or equal to 10%), resulting in high Leu-3+/Leu-2+ ratios, did not distinguish benign from malignant erythroderma. Leu-8 antigen deficiency was common in both mycosis fungoides/Sézary syndrome and benign cases (62% vs 75%, respectively). In contrast, Leu-9 antigen deficiency was present in only one patient in each group. The lack of combined Leu-8/9 antigen deficiency in our patients may be due to a heavy inflammatory T cell component, obscuring the antigen deficiencies seen in most nonerythrodermic mycosis fungoides cases. We conclude that immunophenotypic studies with the use of the current antibody panel show many similarities between benign and malignant forms of erythroderma, as well as some minor differences that may prove diagnostically useful if corroborated by future studies.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988R205700014
View details for PubMedID 2974461