Recent studies demonstrated that Hodgkin/Reed-Sternberg (H/RS) cells in Hodgkin's disease (HD) express thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC), whereas reactive lymphocytes surrounding H/RS cells express its ligand, CC-chemokine receptor 4 (CCR4). Because in vitro studies showed that CCR4 expression is a marker for lymphocytes bearing a T-helper 2 (Th2) phenotype, it was suggested that expression of TARC is a new immune escape mechanism in HD. To find out whether this mechanism might also be operative in CD30+ malignant lymphomas other than HD, TARC and CCR4 expression was investigated by immunohistochemistry on paraffin and frozen-tissue sections of 39 nodal CD30+ anaplastic: large cell lymphomas (ALCL), including 27 ALK-negative and 12 ALK-positive ALCL, 25 primary cutaneous CD30+ ALCL, including 11 patients with lymphomatoid papulosis, and 31 cases of HD. TARC was expressed by the neoplastic cells in 12/27 (44%) nodal ALK-negative ALCL and all. cases of classic HD, but not in nodal ALK-positive ALCL (0/12) and only rarely in primary cutaneous CD30+ ALCL (3/25). In contrast, CCR4 was expressed by the neoplastic cells in 9/9 cutaneous CD30+ ALCL, and in 9/15 (60%) nodal ALK-negative ALCL, but only in 1/4 (25%) nodal ALK-positive ALCL and not by the H/RS cells in HD (0/8). Apart from three cases of HD showing 10 to 15% CCR4-positive lymphocytes surrounding TARC-positive H/RS cells, CCR4-positive reactive T cells were few (<5%) in all other cases studied. Our results demonstrate a differential expression of TARC and CCR4 in different types of CD30+ malignant lymphomas. The small number of CCR4-positive reactive T cells in most cases studied argues against an important role of TARC expression in the evasion of antitumor responses.