The Role of Molecular Analysis in Cutaneous Lymphomas

The purpose of this review is to summarize the most important molecular techniques for the
diagnosis of cutaneous lymphomas. When making a diagnosis, we are looking for the solid
clinicopathological correlation. Molecular analysis includes immunophenotyping and clonality
analysis, and is important for 2 principal reasons: (1) to confirm the diagnosis in cases
where the clinical and/or pathological presentations are nondiagnostic, and (2) to further
characterize the nature of the lymphoma. More specifically, we are trying to discern
whether the lymphoma is primarily cutaneous or systemic with secondary skin involvement,
and we are also attempting to subclassify the tumor. Recently, many techniques have
provided a more accurate diagnosis of cutaneous lymphomas and some prognostic implications,
including polymerase chain reaction, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and flow
cytometry. Fluorescence in situ hybridization is not routinely used in the diagnosis of
cutaneous lymphoma, but many studies have shown potential future applications in various
areas. Other techniques, such as comparative genomic hybridization, are still confined to
the research arena, but have added some insight into the molecular pathogenesis of
cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 31:234-240 © 2012 Frontline Medical Communications

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