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Palisaded Neutrophilic Granulomatous Dermatitis Leading to Diagnosis of Hodgkin Lymphoma

Report of Rare Case and Literature Review of Paraneoplastic Granulomatous Dermatitides

Pei, Susan MD; Hinshaw, Molly A. MD

The American Journal of Dermatopathology: November 2019 - Volume 41 - Issue 11 - p 835–845
doi: 10.1097/DAD.0000000000001411
Extraordinary Case Report

Abstract: Palisaded neutrophilic granulomatous dermatitis (PNGD) presents as skin-colored to erythematous papules symmetrically distributed on extensor extremities. Histologically, interstitial and/or palisaded granulomatous infiltrates are present with neutrophils and leukocytoclasis. Together with interstitial granulomatous dermatitis (IGD), PNGD is considered a reactive granulomatous dermatitis to a systemic trigger including connective tissue disease, infection, medication reaction, and less commonly malignancy. We present the second case of PNGD leading to diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma. A 47-year-old woman presented with a new asymptomatic eruption of erythematous, nonscaly papules and thin plaques with variable annular configuration, symmetrically distributed on extremities. Biopsies revealed mid-dermal focal degeneration of collagen and leukocytoclasis in association with a palisaded mixed inflammatory infiltrate of neutrophils, lymphocytes, and histiocytes, some forming small granulomas. She had associated fevers, night sweats, weight loss, arthralgias and malaise. Imaging revealed retroperitoneal adenopathy. Excisional lymph node biopsy led to diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma. Paraneoplastic PNGD is rare with only 9 reported cases. In all cases, PNGD presented concurrently or before presentation of clinical signs/symptoms of underlying neoplasm. We reviewed a total of 37 cases of paraneoplastic PNGD/IGD, summarizing clinical presentation, histology, associated neoplasm, and response of the skin lesions to treatment. The most commonly associated neoplasia is hematologic, with myelodysplastic syndrome (9 of the 37 cases or 24%) being the most frequent. Seven cases of solid tumor malignancies (prostate, esophageal, hypopharyngeal, breast, endometrial, and lung cancers) have been reported. Recognition of paraneoplastic PNGD/IGD may allow dermatopathologists, pathologists, and dermatologists to direct further workup that reveals underlying malignancy.

Department of Dermatology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.

Correspondence: Molly Hinshaw, MD, Department of Dermatology, University of Wisconsin, One South Park Street, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715 (e-mail:

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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