Diagnosis of Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma

While a diagnosis of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) is often suggested by the appearance of the lesion, it is always confirmed with a skin biopsy (often multiple biopsies) and examination under a microscope. In the early stages of CTCL, the diagnosis may be suspected for years before the condition is finally confirmed after repeated biopsies.

Any enlarged lymph nodes should be evaluated for malignant cells, as should the blood in cases of suspected Sezary syndrome. Extremely atypical cells imply a worse prognosis and the need for more aggressive therapy. A thorough examination should be undertaken to help guide treatment choices. The prognosis worsens as CTCL spreads.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Sep 2000

Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014