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Indeterminate Cell Tumor


Indeterminate cell tumor (ICT) is a rare neoplastic dendritic cell disorder that has been poorly defined due to its rarity and poorly understood histogenesis and pathogenesis. It is characterized by a proliferation of dendritic cells, which mimic Langerhans cells immunophenotypically (positive for CD1a and S-100 protein), but lack Birbeck granules characteristic of Langerhans cells. The clinical, morphologic, immunophenotypic, and ultrastructural features of 5 ICT cases are reported in an attempt to further define ICT and to examine the postulated relationship between indeterminate cells and Langerhans cells. Four of 5 patients were females, and 4 of 5 were older than 68 years. Three of 5 patients had cutaneous lesions, whereas 2 presented with cervical lymph node involvement. Two patients had a possible association with lymphoma: first patient had a history of progressive follicular lymphoma that led to patient's demise and the second patient had unexplained systemic lymphadenopathy and died 1 week after the biopsy. All 5 ICT cases expressed CD1a and S-100 protein, but lacked Langerin expression and Birbeck granules ultrastructurally. Interestingly, a t(14;18) was detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization in the ICT cells of the patient with previous follicular lymphoma and a monoclonal kappa light chain gene rearrangement was detected by polymerase chain reaction in the patient with systemic lymphadenopathy. In both cases, there was no morphologic or immunophenotypic evidence of a concurrent B-cell lymphoma. In conclusion, ICT is a rare neoplasm that can occur de novo or in association with a B-cell lymphoma, possibly as a result of B-cell dedifferentiation caused by relatively unknown mechanisms. Finally, Langerin immunostaining may be used as a surrogate marker for the ultrastructural demonstration of Birbeck granules, the absence of which represents a strong diagnostic criterion for ICT.

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