How common is mycosis fungoides cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and how is it characterized?

Updated: Aug 15, 2018
  • Author: Lauren C Pinter-Brown, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Mycosis fungoides is the most common type of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (44%), which has led some authors to use this term synonymously with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is a relatively common clonal expansion of T helper cells and, more rarely, T suppressor/killer cells or NK cells, that usually appears as a widespread, chronic cutaneous eruption.

Mycosis fungoides itself is often an epidermotropic disorder and is characterized by the evolution of patches into plaques and tumors composed of small to medium-sized skin-homing T cells; some (or, rarely, all) of these T cells have convoluted, cerebriform nuclei. (See the images below.)

Patch-stage cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Courtesy of Patch-stage cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Courtesy of Jeffrey Meffert, MD.
Early patch-stage cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Early patch-stage cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

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