Atypical pigmentary purpura: a clinical, histopathologic, and genotypic study.

TitleAtypical pigmentary purpura: a clinical, histopathologic, and genotypic study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsCrowson AN, Magro CM, Zahorchak R
JournalHum Pathol
Date Published1999 Sep
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Child, DNA, Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Mycosis Fungoides, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Purpura, Skin Diseases

BACKGROUND: The pigmentary purpuras (PPs) are a heterogeneous group of dermatoses defined by specific clinicopathologic features but sharing, at the light microscopic level, superficially disposed dermal lymphocytic infiltrates and hemorrhage. The term atypical pigmentary purpura (APP) is used by the authors in reference to cases of PP in which individual lesions, although clinically presenting as PP, show morphological features typically associated with mycosis fungoides (MF) including Sezary cells and epidermotropism. The integrated concept of lymphocyte atypia and PP is a confusing and enigmatic one to which reference in the literature has been previously made. Specifically, there are reports of PP presaging fully evolved MF, lymphoid atypia has been identified in lesions of routine PP and MF with purpuric features has been described. The clinical, light microscopic, and genomic features of biopsied lesions showing pathological features of APP and which clinically were consistent with PP is explored.

DESIGN: The light microscopy of skin biopsy specimens from 34 patients with a pathological diagnosis of APP was correlated to medical and drug histories. In 14 cases, adequate tissue was present in the paraffin blocks to allow DNA extraction. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used in these 14 cases to explore for rearrangement of the T-cell receptor. Fisher's exact test and pair wise exact tests were used to assess the significance of histological differences between cases determined by dinical features to be of MF- or drug-related origin, or to be idiopathic in nature.

RESULTS: Of 34 patients, 7 were held to have MF related PP; specifically these patients had violaceous, infiltrative, variably purpuric plaques on trunk, buttocks, and thighs accompanied by typical PP lesions which occurred either concomitant to or preceded the MF lesions. In 10 cases, a diagnosis of idiopathic PP was made whereby the clinical presentation was characteristic of PP; there were no concomitant lesions suspicious for MF and a drug-based origin was excluded. A drug-based origin was established in 17 patients based on lesional onset related to initiation (5 patients) and/or resolution after discontinuation (12 patients) of drugs including calcium channel blockers, lipid-lowering agents, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, antihistamines, antidepressants, or analgesics. There was considerable overlap histologically between all 3 groups including the degree of lymphoid atypia in the dermis, the presence of dermal-based Sezary cells, the degree and pattern of epidermotropism, the paucity of other inflammatory cell elements, and the presence of laminated dermal sclerosis. Morphological features predictive of MF related APP over the other 2 groups were intraepidermal lymphocytes which were more atypical than the dermal-based infiltrate. Intraepidermal Sezary cells were less frequent in biopsies of drug-related APP relative to idiopathic PP (IPP) and MF related PP. PCR studies conducted in 14 cases (2 cases of MF, 6 cases of drug-related APP, and 6 cases of IPP) revealed clonality in 2 cases of drug-related APP and 2 cases of IPP; the 2 studied MF-related cases did nor show clonal restriction.

CONCLUSION: APP should not be equated with purpuric MF; it is not necessarily a precursor lesion of MF, and may be of drug-based origin. Clinical features are critical to the final assessment because there is overlap pathologically in the 3 clinical subtypes of APP.

Alternate JournalHum Pathol
PubMed ID10492033
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