Specificity of IRF4 translocations for primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma: A multicenter study of 204 skin biopsies

David A. Wada, Mark E. Law, Eric D. Hsi, David J. Dicaudo, Linglei Ma, Megan S. Lim, Aieska De Souza, Nneka I. Comfere, Roger H. Weenig, William R. MacOn, Lori A. Erickson, Nazan Özsan, Stephen M. Ansell, Ahmet Dogan, Andrew L. Feldman

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109 Scopus citations


Current pathologic criteria cannot reliably distinguish cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma from other CD30-positive T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders (lymphomatoid papulosis, systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma with skin involvement, and transformed mycosis fungoides). We previously reported IRF4 (interferon regulatory factor-4) translocations in cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphomas. Here, we investigated the clinical utility of detecting IRF4 translocations in skin biopsies. We performed fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for IRF4 in 204 biopsies involved by T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders from 182 patients at three institutions. In all, 9 of 45 (20%) cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphomas and 1 of 32 (3%) cases of lymphomatoid papulosis with informative results demonstrated an IRF4 translocation. Remaining informative cases were negative for a translocation (7 systemic anaplastic large cell lymphomas; 44 cases of mycosis fungoides/Sézary syndrome (13 transformed); 24 peripheral T-cell lymphomas, not otherwise specified; 12 CD4-positive small/medium-sized pleomorphic T-cell lymphomas; 5 extranodal NK/T-cell lymphomas, nasal type; 4 gamma-delta T-cell lymphomas; and 5 other uncommon T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders). Among all cutaneous T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders, FISH for IRF4 had a specificity and positive predictive value for cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma of 99 and 90%, respectively (P=0.00002, Fisher's exact test). Among anaplastic large cell lymphomas, lymphomatoid papulosis, and transformed mycosis fungoides, specificity and positive predictive value were 98 and 90%, respectively (P=0.005). FISH abnormalities other than translocations and IRF4 protein expression were seen in 13 and 65% of cases, respectively, but were nonspecific with regard to T-cell lymphoproliferative disorder subtype. Our findings support the clinical utility of FISH for IRF4 in the differential diagnosis of T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders in skin biopsies, with detection of a translocation favoring cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Like all FISH studies, IRF4 testing must be interpreted in the context of morphology, phenotype, and clinical features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-605
Number of pages10
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • IRF4
  • MUM1
  • T-cell lymphoma
  • fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • lymphomatoid papulosis
  • mycosis fungoides
  • naplastic large cell lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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