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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dermatology Online Journal

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Dermatology Online Journal is an open-access, refereed publication intended to meet reference and education needs of the international dermatology community since 1995. Dermatology Online Journal is supported by the Department of Dermatology UC Davis, and by the Northern California Veterans Administration.

Volume 19, Issue 12, 2013

Nicholas A. Soter, MD, Guest Editor

Case Presentation

Livedo reticularis

Livedo reticularis (LR) is a net-like, violaceous, hyperpigmented pattern on the skin that reflects an underlying change in cutaneous blood flow. The causes of LR are many and most commonly include connective tissue diseases, vasculitis, hypercoagulability, and embolic events. We describe a 49-year-old man who presented with painful LR and ulcers on the lower extremities as a manifestation of chronic natural killer cell leukemia (CNKL). There have been only a few cases previously reported in the literature. We report an additional case of a patient with both LR and CNKL and suggest a possible mechanism that explains this association.

Spiny keratoderma

We present a case of a 48-year-old man with an approximately 30-year history of spiny projections on the palms, which were histopathologically consistent with spiny keratoderma. Spiny keratoderma is a rare entity of unknown etiology that has been described with both hereditary and acquired variants. The hereditary form, which is most likely the diagnosis in our patient, manifests at a younger age and is benign. The acquired variant, which presents in older adults, has been associated with a variety of systemic diseases and malignant conditions. In patients suspected of having acquired spiny keratoderma, an evaluation for malignant conditions may be warranted.

Verrucous epidermal nevus

A 64-year-old man presented with a three-year history of an enlarging, pruritic, linear, verrucous plaque on his left lower extremity. Histopathologic examination was consistent with a verrucous epidermal nevus, which is a benign epidermal hamartoma, most commonly observed in the pediatric population. Verrucous epidermal nevi are often refractory to treatment and have high rates of recurrences, causing them to be therapeutic challenges. We review the treatment modalities reported to be effective in verrucous epidermal nevi.

Granulomatous dermatitis related to silicone implant

Silicone in liquid and gel implantation may induce granuloma formation and migration. Although there are many complications associated with solid silicone implantation, there have been no published reports of distant granuloma formation. We present a case of a woman with clinical and serologic findings that are consistent with systemic lupus erythematosus and a histopathologic diagnosis of foreign body granulomatous dermatitis 20 years after solid silicone nasal implantation. We review the literature on silicone granulomas and their treatment and speculate on the potential etiologies of a challenging case presentation.

Necrolytic acral erythema

Necrolytic acral erythema is a rare, cutaneous manifestation of hepatitis C virus infection that is characterized by erythematous, violaceous or dusky papules, blisters, and/or erosions in the early stages and by well-demarcated, hyperkeratotic, targetoid plaques with a peripheral rim of macular erythema, secondary lichenification and hyperpigmentation, and overlying fine micaceous or necrotic-appearing scale in the later stages. Because most topical modalities prove ineffective, treatment of the underlying viral infection or therapeutic zinc supplementation are required for clinical improvement.

Graft-vs-host disease

We present a case of chronic graft-versus-host disease in a 61-year-old woman with a history of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia that was treated with an allogeneic bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor. The patient initially presented with erythematous patches on the trunk and extremities that evolved into reticulated, hyperpigmented patches and lichenified plaques.

Primary localized cutaneous amyloidosis

A 61-year-old man presented for evaluation of a bruise-like lesion of the right knee. He was found to have an ill-defined, light brown patch with focal areas of dark red and brown. The histopathologic diagnosis was consistent with amyloidosis. Further subtyping showed that the amyloid protein was AL (κ). A systemic evaluation failed to show internal involvement. Amyloidosis comprises a spectrum of diseases, which range from systemic to localized cutaneous types, and is characterized by the extracellular deposition of amyloidosis protein as beta-pleated sheets. The forms of amyloidosis are differentiated by the specific types of protein-derived amyloidosis fibers. Both nodular and primary systemic amyloidosis can present as nodules on the skin owing to deposition of AL type amyloid protein. Primary systemic amyloidosis, which carries a poorer prognosis than does nodular amyloidosis, also may give rise to ecchymoses and many other cutaneous and extracutaneous findings. Histopathologic features are similar in both cases and involve the deposition of amorphous, eosinophilic material in the dermis. Nodular amyloidosis may progress to primary systemic disease in up to 50% of cases. Because our patient had no systemic involvement and the lesions did not appear nodular in nature, the patient was given a diagnosis of primary localized AL cutaneous amyloidosis. Routine follow-up for this patient is necessary to detect any potential disease progression.

Fluoroscopy-associated radiation dermatitis

We present a 67-year-old man with an ulcerated, indurated plaque on the right mid back with a presumed diagnosis of morphea that was complicated by an allergic contact dermatitis. Further clinical and histopathologic data elucidated the diagnosis of fluoroscopy-induced radiation dermatitis. We present a brief review of the common locations, clinical characteristics, pathophysiology, and management options for fluoroscopy-induced radiation dermatitis.

Lichen planus pigmentosus

Lichen planus pigmentosus (LPP) is an uncommon variant of lichen planus that tends to occur in middle-aged individuals with darker pigmented skin. Clinical findings include hyperpigmented, brown to gray-brown macules and patches in sun-exposed areas, typically on the head and neck. Histopathologic features include epidermal atrophy, vacuolar degeneration of the basal layer of the epidermis, perivascular lymphohistiocystic infiltrate in the upper dermis, and dermal melanophages. We present a unique case of LPP that was characterized by an atypical initial inflammatory phase and subsequent circinate lesions with central clearing.

Lichen sclerosus et atrophicus

Morphea and lichen sclerosus et atrophicus (LSA) have similar clinical presentations. Reports of patients with overlapping clinical and histopathologic features of both conditions have led some to speculate that they may represent different presentations along the same disease spectrum. It has been postulated that there is a common etiologic agent, which may involve autoimmunity, response to trauma, or infection. The link between Borrelia infection and both morphea and LSA has been widely studied but remains controversial. We present a case of a patient with lesions characterized by overlapping features of morphea and LSA with rapid decrease in joint mobility.

Pemphigoid gestationis

We present a 21-year-old primigravida woman with a several-week history of pruritic, edematous, targetoid plaques that appeared initially on the abdomen, flanks, and legs and that progressed to involve the inner aspects of the upper arms and lateral aspects of the chest. The histopathologic findings showed perivascular and interstitial dermatitis with eosinophils and vacuolar changes with linear C3 deposition at the basement-membrane zone on direct immunofluorescence study. A diagnosis of pemphigoid gestationis was made. Pemphigoid gestationis is a rare, bullous dermatosis of pregnancy that may be associated with prematurity and small-for-gestational age birth weights. The diagnosis is often made with direct immunofluorescence studies of perilesional skin. Oral glucocorticoids remain the gold standard of therapy in moderate-to-severe cases. The edematous papules and plaques of pemphigoid gestationis may be particularly difficult to distinguish from polymorphic eruption of pregnancy; therefore, immunofluorescence studies are prudent. Prompt recognition and appropriate management may reduce morbidity of this disease, which often recurs with subsequent pregnancies.

Flagellate erythema

A 21-year-old woman presented with a pruritic eruption on her trunk and extremities after receiving bleomycin for treatment of stage III ovarian germ-cell tumor. Physical examination was consistent with bleomycin-induced flagellate erythema. We discuss the pathophysiologic mechanism that produces this dermatitis.

Hemifacial atrophy

We report the case of a 44-year-old woman with a one-year history of en coup de sabre morphea and progressive hemifacial atrophy with ipsilateral hemifacial neuralgia, migraine, and contralateral neurologic abnormalities. While rare, Parry-Romberg syndrome typically presents in the first or second decade of life; this patient’s case is unusual in that the onset of her disease is demonstrated at age 43. Common clinical features, laboratory findings, and pathogenetic theories are discussed.

Scleredema diabeticorum

We present a case of scleredema with a leonine facies in a 56-year-old man with a history of poorly controlled diabetes mellitus. The patient initially presented with erythematous, edematous papules and plaques on the face, neck, and upper back.

Trauma-related papular granuloma annular

Granuloma annulare (GA) is a benign, granulomatous disease with several clinical manifestations, which include localized, generalized, perforating, subcutaneous, patch, papular, and linear forms.  We report a case of papular GA of the dorsal aspects of the hands that arose after repeated, direct trauma to the site of subsequent involvement.  Although multiple etiologies for GA have been proposed, which include ultraviolet light, arthropod bites, trauma, tuberculin skin tests, viral infections, and PUVA photochemotherapy, the underlying pathogenesis of the disorder remains unclear.  However, owing to the key histopathologic findings of focal collagen and elastic fiber degeneration and mucin deosition in GA, it is not surprising that cutaneous trauma may have played a role in connective tissue injury, subsequent degeneration, and the production of a granulomatous response with increased mucin deposition.

Muckle-Wells treatment with anakinra

A 35-year-old man initially was referred for management of recalcitrant urticaria. Owing to his long history of arthritis and sensorineural hearing loss, genetic testing was performed. The test showed a D305N heterozygous mutation in the NLRP3 gene, which is consistent with the diagnosis of Muckle-Wells syndrome. We discussed the rationales behind the use of the interleukin-1 antagonist anakinra in this autoinflammatory disorder.


Steatocystoma multiplex is a rare condition that is characterized by cutaneous cysts and may be inherited in an autosomal dominant manner or may occur sporadically. The pathogenesis is hypothesized to involve mutations in the keratin 17 gene. There are no internal manifestations. The lesions are usually asymptomatic. However, a suppurative variant exists in which the lesions become inflamed and suppurative after minor trauma. Treatments include cryosurgery, aspiration, surgical excision, laser therapy, and modified surgical incision techniques. This report presents a case of steatocystoma multiplex, the suppurative variant, in a 26-year-old woman with involvement of rare locations on the buttocks, groin, and extremities.


We present a case of a 35-year-old woman with a yellow, verrucous, and itchy plaque on her scalp. Within this plaque, there was an erythematous, bleeding papule. Histopathologic findings were compatible with a diagnosis of syringocystadenoma papilliferum within a nevus sebaceous. We present a brief review of the natural history of nevus sebaceus, its pathogenesis, and management.

Hydroxycholoroquine-induced hyperpigmentation

A 57-year-old woman with systemic lupus erythematosus and Sjögren syndrome presented with blue-grey hyperpigmentation of the face, upper back, and dorsal aspects of the feet after seven years of therapy with hydroxychloroquine. We present an unusual case of drug-induced hyperpigmentation.