Primary cutaneous B-cell lymphomas (CBCL) are a diverse group of lymphomas that are limited to the skin at the time of diagnosis. Recently, standardized polymerase chain reaction protocols for immunoglobulin (Ig) rearrangement in nodal malignancies using the BIOMED-2 method have been studied extensively. However, reports of investigations of Ig clonality in CBCL using the BIOMED-2 method have been scant. We hypothesized that clonality detection in CBCL with the BIOMED-2 method could effectively distinguish malignant from benign B-cell-rich infiltrates in the skin. Formalin-fixed tissue samples from 26 patients with CBCL and 23 with benign lymphoid infiltrates were analyzed for Ig clonality using standardized BIOMED-2 polymerase chain reaction protocols. The (14;18) translocation was also assessed. A clone was detected in 22 (85%) of the 26 patients with CBCL [12/15 (80%) marginal zone B-cell lymphoma; 10/11 (91%) follicle center lymphoma] and in 1 (4%) of the 23 patients with benign infiltrates. The (14;18) translocation was present in 3 (12%) of the 26 patients with CBCL [1/15 (7%) marginal zone B-cell lymphoma; 2/11 (18%) follicle center lymphoma]. Our preliminary data indicate that Ig clonality can be detected in formalin-fixed samples of CBCL with meaningful sensitivity (85%) and high specificity (96%) using the BIOMED-2 method. This study forms the basis for further investigating the role of Ig clonality in distinguishing CBCL from benign lymphoid infiltrates that may pose a challenge in morphologic diagnosis.
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