Reactive angioendotheliomatosis (REA) is a rare benign angioproliferative condition of the skin, which has been noted to occur in patients with a variety of underlying systemic diseases. Histopathologically, this condition is characterized by vascular proliferation, and endothelial cell hyperplasia within the lumina and around dermal vessels, without significant cellular atypia. Since the first case of RAE was reported in 1958, multiple histologic patterns of benign cutaneous vascular proliferations with similar clinical presentations to RAE have been described in the literature and have been proposed as subtypes of the originally described condition. Among these entities are diffuse dermal angiomatosis (DDA), acroangiodermatitis, glomeruloid angioendotheliomatosis, and angiomatosis associated with cryoproteins. It has also been proposed that another entity, characterized by the benign proliferation of histiocytes within the lumina of cutaneous vessels, is a subtype of RAE. Histiocytosis within dermal vessels, in conjunction with skin pathology, was first reported in 1994. Based on the appearance of involved vessels, it was initially believed that the histiocytic proliferations were within the lumina of capillaries. Hence, the term intravascular histiocytosis was introduced to describe this histologic finding. However, subsequent introduction of an immunohistochemical (IHC) marker specific for lymphatic vessels demonstrated that most cases of cutaneous histiocyte proliferation are intralymphatic, rather than truly intravascular. However, there have also been reports of IHC-confirmed cases of true intravascular (intracapillary) histiocytosis. In this study, clinical and histologic data from all of the cases of RAE and IHC-confirmed cases of intravascular histiocytosis and intralymphatic histiocytosis reported in the literature to date are examined. Through comparison of the frequency with which key clinical and histologic features present in cases of each group, the authors provide improved clarity of the similarities and differences between these 3 entities.
*Virginia Tech Carilion Dermatology and Mohs Surgery, Roanoke, VA; and
†Cleveland Clinic, Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute, Cleveland, OH.
Reprints: Sean E. Mazloom, MD, Virginia Tech Carilion Dermatology and Mohs Surgery, 1 Riverside Circle, Suite 300, Roanoke, VA 24016 (e-mail: Seanmaz@gmail.com).
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.