Clonal T cell receptor gamma-chain gene rearrangement by PCR-based GeneScan analysis in the skin and blood of patients with parapsoriasis and early-stage mycosis fungoides.J Pathol. 2002 Jul; 197(3):348-54.JP
Cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) and reactive T cell skin diseases represent opposite ends of a spectrum of diseases ranging from overtly malignant to persistently benign. Within this spectrum, the parapsoriasis group is not clearly defined regarding malignant potential. In contrast to consistent findings in advanced-stage CTCL, clonality analysis of parapsoriasis has produced conflicting results in previous studies. As T cell receptor gamma-chain polymerase chain reaction GeneScan analysis (TCR-gamma-PCR-GSA) stands out by its sensitivity, its accuracy in size determination of PCR products, its capacity to identify false positives by repeated analysis and its easy applicability, this approach was used to analyse the clonality status of 41 patients with borderline T cell lymphoproliferative skin diseases, including parapsoriasis (n=27) and early-stage mycosis fungoides (MF) (n=14). A monoclonal T cell infiltrate was demonstrated by repeated TCR-gamma-PCR-GSA in lesional skin specimens in 19.2% of parapsoriasis patients and in 66.6% of early-stage MF cases (p=0.013). In peripheral blood, a monoclonal T cell population was found in a similar percentage of parapsoriasis and of early-stage MF patients (26.7% versus 12.5%; p=0.611). A detailed analysis of parapsoriasis subentities, namely small and large plaque parapsoriasis, and parapsoriasis lichenoides, revealed monoclonality in 2(6)/2(5), 3(14)/2(8) and 0(6)/0/(3) of the skin and peripheral blood specimens, respectively. The high detection rate of false positive cases by repeated analysis (20-37.5%) provides a corrected perspective for the high rates of dominant T cell clones found by others in the peripheral blood of such patients. From the results obtained, three major conclusions can be drawn: firstly, CTCL is clearly associated with detection of monoclonality, even in its early stages; secondly, monoclonality is not a prerequisite for potential CTCL precursor entities; and thirdly, recirculating malignant T cells identical to the skin clone are not readily detected in parapsoriasis or early-stage MF, but may rather indicate disease progression.