Folliculotropic T-cell infiltrates associated with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia or MALT lymphoma may reveal either true mycosis fungoides or pseudolymphomatous reaction: seven cases and review of the literature


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Mycosis fungoides (MF) and pseudo-MF (or MF simulant) can be associated with B-cell malignancies, but distinction between a true neoplasm and a reactive process may be difficult.


To report seven patients with B-cell malignancy and folliculotropic MF or pseudo-MF and emphasize on criteria allowing distinction between the two conditions.


We retrospectively and prospectively included seven patients with B-cell malignancy who presented skin lesions histologically consisting in a folliculotropic T-cell infiltrate and reviewed the literature on the topic.


Four men and three women had a chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (n = 6) or a MALT-type lymphoma (n = 1). Five patients had localized papules, and two had patches and plaques. Histological examination showed in all cases a diffuse dermal T-cell infiltrate with folliculotropic involvement and follicular mucinosis associated with clusters of the B-cell lymphoma, without significant expression of follicular helper T-cell markers. T-cell rearrangement studies showed a polyclonal pattern in the patients with papules and a monoclonal pattern in the cases of patches and plaques. Papular lesions had an indolent evolution, whereas patches and plaques persisted or worsened into transformed MF.


Folliculotropic T-cell infiltrates associated with B-cell malignancies can be either a true folliculotropic MF or a pseudo-MF. The distinction between both conditions cannot rely only on the histopathological aspect, but needs both a clinical pathological correlation and the search for a dominant T-cell clone. Whether the neoplastic T and B cells derive from a common ancestor or the T-cell proliferation is promoted by the underlying B-cell lymphoma remains unsolved, but interaction between B and T cell in the skin does not appear to be dependent on a TFH differentiation of the T-cell infiltrate.