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Dermatology Online Journal

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Targetoid lesions in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus


Rowell Syndrome is a rare presentation of lupus erythematosus manifesting as an eruption of erythema multiforme-like papules and plaques with immunological findings of positive rheumatoid factor, speckled antinuclear antibodies, and/or anti-Ro/La antibodies. This case highlights the unusual and highly debated presentation of Rowell Syndrome in a 66-year-old woman with newly-appearing erythematous, targetoid plaques in the setting of previously diagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus. Skin biopsy revealed histological features of full-thickness epidermal necrosis with focal sub-epidermal separation and a superficial perivascular lymphocytic infiltrate interpreted to favor Rowell Syndrome given her clinical history and presentation. Although no standard treatment exists, a prednisone taper and topical corticosteroids proved effective initially, with complete resolution at six months on mycophenolate mofetil and belimumab.

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