Langerhans cell histiocytosis is characterized by a localized or systemic proliferation of Langerhans cells. BRAF mutations have been reported in 40-70% of cases and MAP2K1 mutations have been found in BRAF-negative cases, supporting that Langerhans cell histiocytosis is a true neoplasm, at least in mutated cases. In a small subset of patients, Langerhans cell histiocytosis is detected incidentally in a biopsy involved by lymphoma. These lesions are usually minute and rarely have been assessed for mutations. We assessed for BRAF and MAP2K1 mutations in seven cases of Langerhans cell histiocytosis detected incidentally in biopsies involved by lymphoma. We performed immunohistochemical analysis for phosphorylated (p)-ERK. There were four men and three women (median age, 54 years; range, 28-84). The biopsies included lymph nodes (n=6) and chest wall (n=1). The lymphomas included five classical Hodgkin lymphoma, one mantle cell lymphoma, and one angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. All cases were negative for BRAF V600E and MAP2K1 mutations. Nevertheless, three of seven cases showed ERK activation as shown by expression of p-ERK. We performed mutation analysis using a panel of 134 commonly mutated genes (including BRAF and MAP2K1) by next-generation sequencing on three cases, including two cases positive for p-ERK by immunohistochemistry. No mutations were detected in any of the three cases assessed. Six patients received therapy appropriate for their lymphoma. With a median follow-up of 21 months (range, 6-89), no patients developed disseminated or recurrent Langerhans cell histiocytosis. We conclude that lymphoma-associated Langerhans cell histiocytosis is a clinically benign process that is not associated with BRAF V600E or MAP2K1 mutations and, as suggested by others, the designation Langerhans cell hyperplasia may be more appropriate. Nevertheless, the expression of p-ERK in three cases suggests that the RAS-RAF-MAP2K-ERK pathway is activated, perhaps by non-mutational mechanisms induced by the presence of lymphoma or lymphoma-microenvironment interactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine