Characteristic Distribution Pattern of CD30-positive Cytotoxic T Cells Aids Diagnosis of Kikuchi-Fujimoto Disease

Tetsuya Tabata, Katsuyoshi Takata, Tomoko Miyata-Takata, Yasuharu Sato, Shin Ishizawa, Tomoyoshi Kunitomo, Keina Nagakita, Nobuhiko Ohnishi, Kouhei Taniguchi, Mai Noujima-Harada, Yoshinobu Maeda, Mitsune Tanimoto, Tadashi Yoshino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis (or Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease) frequently occurs in Asian young adult females and typically presents as cervical lymphadenopathy with unknown etiology. Although large immunoblasts frequently appear in Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease, the diffuse infiltration of these cells can cause difficulty in establishing a differential diagnosis from lymphoma. In such cases, CD30 immunostaining may be used; however, the extent or distribution pattern of CD30-positive cells in Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease remains largely unknown. Here we investigated the expression of CD30 and its clinicopathologic significance. Materials and Methods: We investigated 30 Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease and 16 control [6, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); 10, reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (RLH)] cases. Results: The number of CD30-positive cells in Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease was significantly more than that in SLE and RLH, and majority of these cells were located around necrotic areas. Moreover, double immunohistochemical staining showed these CD30-positive cells to be CD8-positive cytotoxic T cells, suggesting that activated cytotoxic T cells around necrotic areas are a characteristic feature of this disease. Clinicopathologic analysis showed that cases with abundant CD30-positive cells were predominantly female with only mild symptoms and normal laboratory data. Conclusions: In Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease cases, CD30-positive cytotoxic T cells were abundant around necrotic areas; this histologic feature may be helpful to differentiate this disease from SLE and RLH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-282
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • CD30
  • cytotoxic T lymphocytes
  • histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis
  • systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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