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Mycosis-fungoides-type cutaneous T cell lymphoma of the hands and soles: a variant causing delay in diagnosis and adequate treatment of patients with palmoplantar eczema.

BACKGROUND: The etiopathology of chronic eczematous lesions of the palms and/or soles remains elusive in a considerable proportion of patients. Accumulating evidence suggests that a rare variant of mycosis fungoides (MF)-type cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) restricted to the palms and/or soles may mimic common palmoplantar dermatoses.

OBJECTIVE: In the present study, we analyzed the clinical and histological characteristics of 3 adult patients with preexisting nonclassified chronic palmoplantar eczema poorly responding to standard therapies. Palmar and/or plantar MF was eventually diagnosed.

METHODS: The course of the disease, response to previous therapies and dermatological features are described, results of histochemical and immunohistochemical analyses are reported, including T cell receptor gamma gene rearrangement where obtainable.

RESULTS: Onset of cutaneous lesions with broad clinical variation was experienced 2-10 years prior to diagnosis; conventional therapies led to short-time or partial remission only; except for 1 patient, the epidermotropic infiltrate was predominantly composed of CD4-positive cells; topical photochemotherapy seems to result in more durable responses.

CONCLUSION: As therapeutic strategies for this disease variant differ from symptomatic standard treatment regimens, awareness of MF-type CTCL as a relevant differential diagnosis of palmoplantar eczema should be expanded to prevent delay in diagnosis and adequate therapy.

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