Enhanced PD-L1 expression on tumor cells in primary cutaneous large T-cell lymphoma with CD30 expression as classic Hodgkin lymphoma mimics: A report of lymph node lesions of two cases


Pathol Int. 2020 Aug 12. doi: 10.1111/pin.13000. Online ahead of print.


Neoplastic PD-L1 (nPD-L1, clone SP142) expression remains unclear in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), although it is well-documented in classic Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL). Here, we report two cases of primary cutaneous large T-cell lymphoma (PCLTCL) with CD30 expression that developed secondary nodal lesions morphologically mimicking CHL, and describe their PD-L1 expression. Our two cases (52- and 60-year-old males) had long-standing clinical courses of CTCL. Their PCLTCL with CD30 expression

developed nodal lesions, having a nodular growth pattern containing scattered CD30+ Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg-like and/or lacunar cells that expressed CD15 but did not harbor Epstein-Barr virus. Their differential diagnosis from CHL was challenging. A diagnosis of PCLTCL with secondary nodal involvement featuring CHL mimicry was based on comparison of the primary and secondary lesions. In one case, shared expression of the same T-cell antigen was revealed by immunohistochemistry, and in the other, identical clonal TCR rearrangement was demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Interestingly, nPD-L1 was expressed on more than 50% of the tumor cells in the secondary nodal lesions, but on very few in the primary cutaneous lesions, in both cases. This is the first report of nPD-L1 expression greatly increasing with PCLTCL tumor progression to nodal involvement.