Prevalence of Mycosis Fungoides and Its Association with EBV and HTLV-1 in Pakistanian Patients

Samina NOORALI, Nausheen YAQOOB, Muhammad Israr NASIR, Tariq MOATTER, Shahid PERVEZ

Department of Pathology, The Aga Khan University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan


Mycosis fungoides (MF) is an indolent T cell lymphoma that is distinguished from other lymphomas by its initial appearance on the skin. The histologic diagnosis of MF may be difficult because there is significant overlap in the histologic features of neoplastic T-cell infiltrates and inflammatory dermatoses. This T-cell neoplasm commonly occurs in a mixed, reactive background and can show only a subtle degree of cytologic atypia, rendering histologic diagnosis difficult. In this study MF constituted 0.86% of all non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) both T and B, as compared to the Western studies which have reported 0.5% prevalence for MF of all NHL. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique was used to assess T-cell clonality in paraffin-embedded skin biopsies clinically and pathologically suspicious for early MF. Out of the 14 cases diagnosed as MF, amplifiable DNA was isolated from 6 cases, which were further studied for T-cell receptor (TcR) – b b, g g, and d dchain gene rearrangements. Clonal product was seen in 4 out of 6 cases for b b, g g, and d dTcR chain genes. Association for Epstein Barr virus (EBV) was observed in 3 out of 6 cases (50%) of MF. Although these 3 cases were positive for EBV by PCR, but were negative by in-situ hybridization (ISH). No heterogeneity was noted in these 3 cases of MF for BamHI E, K, N, and Z regions of EBV. All six cases were negative for HTLV-1 (tax region) by PCR. It was concluded that the prevalence of MF in Pakistani population is comparable to the Western data, and that EBV association to MF cases was higher than in Western studies. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 8, Nr 3, 194-199, 2002

Received: May 9, 2002; accepted: Aug 8, 2002
Correspondence: Shahid PERVEZ, Department of Pathology, The Aga Khan University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical College, Karachi 74800, Pakistan; Tel: 92-21-485-91554/1554, Fax: 92-21-493-4294; E-mail:

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