Haematologica 2013 Jan 6;98(1):50-6. Epub 2012 Jul 6.
Department of Pathology, Hematopathology Section and Lymph Node Registry, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel and University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany.
Anaplastic large cell lymphomas are peripheral T-cell lymphomas that are characterized by a proliferation of large anaplastic blasts expressing CD30. In children, systemic anaplastic large cell lymphomas often present at advanced clinical stage and harbor translocations involving the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene leading to the expression of chimeric anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-fusion proteins. Primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma is regarded as an ALK-negative variant confined to the skin and is part of the spectrum of primary cutaneous CD30-positive T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders. Thirty-three of 487 pediatric patients registered within the Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma-99 trial (1999 to 2006) presented with a skin limited CD30-positive lympho-proliferative disorder. In 23 of the 33 patients, material for international histopathological review was available, and the cases were studied for histopathological, immunophenotypical and clinical features as well as for breaks within the ALK gene. Five of 23 cases and one additional case (identified after closure of the trial) expressed ALK-protein. Complete staging excluded any other organ involvement in all children. Expression of ALK proteins was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry in all cases and the presence of breaks of the ALK gene was genetically confirmed in 5 evaluable cases. The histopathological and clinical picture of these skin-restricted ALK-positive lymphomas was indistinguishable from that of cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Five children presented with a single skin lesion that was completely resected in 4 and incompletely resected in one. Three of these patients received no further therapy, 2 additional local radiotherapy, and one chemotherapy. All children remain in complete remission with a median follow up of seven years (range 1-8 years). We present 6 pediatric cases of ALK-positive primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphomas. After thorough exclusion of systemic involvement, therapy confined to local measures seems to be sufficient to induce cure.