The histological discrimination of granulomatous cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCLs) from reactive granulomatous disorders such as sarcoidosis and granuloma annulare (GA) may be difficult due to overlapping histological features. We analyzed the T-cell receptor gene rearrangement in sarcoidosis and GA to investigate the value of the detection of clonal T cells as an adjunctive diagnostic marker in the differentiation between sarcoidosis and GA versus granulomatous CTCLs. Rearrangement of T-cell receptor γ genes was examined by the use of automated high-resolution polymerase chain reaction fragment analysis in 35 cases of sarcoidosis and 15 cases of GA and compared with a series of 19 cases of granulomatous CTCLs. A monoclonal T-cell population was found in none of the cases of sarcoidosis and in 2 of 15 cases of GA (13%). In granulomatous CTCLs, a neoplastic T-cell clone was detected in 94%. Presence of clonal T cells argues in favour of a granulomatous CTCL, while a polyclonal T-cell population makes the presence of a sarcoidosis or a GA more likely. The analysis of T-cell clonality is a useful diagnostic adjunct in the differentiation between sarcoidosis and GA from granulomatous CTCLs.