Diagnostic utility of sox4 expression in adult t-cell leukemia/lymphoma

Atsuko Nasu, Yuka Gion, Yoshito Nishimura, Asami Nishikori, Misa Sakamoto, Yuria Egusa, Azusa Fujita, Tadashi Yoshino, Yasuharu Sato

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Differentiation between adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) and peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified (PTCL-NOS), is often challenging based on pathological findings alone. Although serum anti-HTLV-1 antibody positivity is required for ATLL diagnosis, this information is often not available at the time of pathological diagnosis. Therefore, we examined whether the expression of SOX4 and p16 would be helpful for differentiating the two disease entities. We immunohistochemically examined SOX4 and p16 expression (which have been implicated in ATLL carcinogenesis) in 11 ATLL patients and 20 PTCL-NOS patients and classified them into four stages according to the percentage of positive cells. Among the ATLL cases, 8/11 (73%) were SOX4-positive, while only 2/20 (10%) PTCL-NOS cases expressed SOX4. The mean total score was 4.2 (standard deviation (SD): 0.61) in the ATLL group and 0.50 (SD: 0.46) in the PTCL-NOS group (p < 0.001). Positive expression of p16 was noted in 4/11 (36%) patients with ATLL and 3/20 (15%) patients with PTCL-NOS, with mean total scores of 1.9 (SD: 0.64) and 0.70 (SD: 0.48) in the ATLL and PTCL-NOS groups, respectively (p = 0.141). These results suggest that SOX4 may be strongly expressed in ATLL compared to PTCL-NOS cases. Therefore, it may be helpful to perform immunohistochemical staining of SOX4 when pathologists face challenges discriminating between ATLL and PTCL-NOS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number766
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma
  • P16
  • Peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified
  • SOX4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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