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Pathology Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 913523, 10 pages
Review Article

The Role of Molecular Pathology in the Diagnosis of Cutaneous Lymphomas

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 7.103 Founders Pavilion, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283, USA

Received 1 August 2012; Accepted 18 October 2012

Academic Editor: Gary Tse

Copyright © 2012 Philipp W. Raess and Adam Bagg. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Primary cutaneous lymphomas can be difficult to be distinguished from reactive mimics, even when integrating histologic, immunophenotypic, and clinical findings. Molecular studies, especially PCR-based antigen receptor gene rearrangement (ARGR) analysis, are frequently useful ancillary studies in the evaluation of cutaneous lymphoproliferations. The biologic basis of ARGR studies is discussed, as well as a comparison of various current protocols. The pitfalls and limitations of ARGR analysis are also highlighted. Recent advances in the understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of various cutaneous lymphomas are discussed. Some of these nascent discoveries may lead to the development of diagnostically useful molecular assays.