What is the historical background for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL)?

Updated: Aug 15, 2018
  • Author: Lauren C Pinter-Brown, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is a term that was created in 1979 at an international workshop sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to describe a group of lymphoproliferative disorders characterized by localization of neoplastic T lymphocytes to the skin. (For lymphomas in general, the skin is actually the second most common extranodal site; gastrointestinal sites are first.) [21, 5, 7, 8, 22]

When the term was first coined, it most often referred to mycosis fungoides/Sézary syndrome, the most common cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. [23, 24] Subsequently, however, the many entities that make up the cutaneous T-cell lymphomas were found to differ widely in biologic course, histologic appearance, and, in some cases, immunologic and cytogenetic features and in their response to appropriate treatment (see the images below). (See Pathophysiology, Etiology, Presentation, and Workup.)

Related articles include Cutaneous B-Cell Lymphoma and Cutaneous Pseudolymphoma.

Patch-stage mycosis fungoides. Patch-stage mycosis fungoides.
Plaque-stage mycosis fungoides. Plaque-stage mycosis fungoides.
Hypopigmented cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Courtesy Hypopigmented cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Courtesy of Jeffrey Meffert, MD.

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