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We studied gene expression profiles of 17 cutaneous B cell lymphomas that were collected with 4-6 mm skin punch biopsies. We also included tissue from two cases of mycosis fungoides, three normal skin biopsies, and three tonsils to create a framework for further interpretation. A hierarchical cluster algorithm was applied for data analysis. Our results indicate that small amounts of skin tissue can be used successfully to perform microarray analysis and result in distinct gene expression patterns. Duplicate specimens clustered together demonstrating a reproducible technique. Within the cutaneous B cell lymphoma specimens two specific B cell differentiation stage signatures of germinal center B cells and plasma cells could be identified. Primary cutaneous follicular and primary cutaneous diffuse large B cell lymphomas had a germinal center B cell signature, whereas a subset of marginal zone lymphomas demonstrated a plasma cell signature. Primary and secondary follicular B cell lymphoma of the skin were closely related, despite previously reported genetic and phenotypic differences. In contrast primary and secondary cutaneous diffuse large B cell lymphoma were less related to each other. This pilot study allows a first glance into the complex and unique microenvironment of B cell lymphomas of the skin and provides a basis for future studies, which may lead to the identification of potential histologic and prognostic markers as well as therapeutic targets.
View details for PubMedID 12713594