Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 
Print this page Email this page Users Online: 136

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 118-121

Rosai dorfman syndrome with extranodal presentation

Department of DVL, Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication20-Jun-2014

Correspondence Address:
Gummadi Purnima
Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2277-8632.134862

Rights and Permissions

Rosai-Dorfman disease (RDD) also known as sinus histiocytosis with massive lymphadenopathy is a rare idiopathic and non-neoplastic disorder of histiocytes, resembling the sinus histiocytes of lymph nodes. The most common presentation of RDD is painless cervical lymphadenopathy in a young patient. The typical clinical features of this disease include bilateral painless lymphadenopathy, fever, and polyclonal hyperglobulinemia. However, in about 25% of cases there is no lymph node involvement and the disease presents as a mass in skin, soft-tissue, nasal cavity, eye, bone, or in other extranodal sites (extranodal type). The condition may present with extranodal involvement in 43% of cases, and cutaneous lesions are the most common form of extranodal disease. This can pose a diagnostic challenge if RDD is not considered in differential diagnoses. Isolated extranodal RDD is relatively uncommon. We report this rare case of extranodal RDD in a 32-year-old female who presented with erythematous tender subcutaneous plaques on lower extremities with left periorbital swelling. Histopathological examination demonstrated lymphophagocytosis (emperipolesis) consistent with a diagnosis of RDD.

Keywords: Emperipolesis, extrnodal cutaneous, Rosai-Dorfman disease

How to cite this article:
Rao GV, Purnima G, Bakuru GD, Lakshminarayan D, Garnpudi P. Rosai dorfman syndrome with extranodal presentation. J NTR Univ Health Sci 2014;3:118-21

How to cite this URL:
Rao GV, Purnima G, Bakuru GD, Lakshminarayan D, Garnpudi P. Rosai dorfman syndrome with extranodal presentation. J NTR Univ Health Sci [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Jan 27];3:118-21. Available from: https://www.jdrntruhs.org/text.asp?2014/3/2/118/134862

  Introduction Top

In the year 1969, Rosai and Dorfman described 4 cases of a disease called sinus histiocytosis with massive lymphadenopathy (SHML). Later in 1972, they analyzed 30 additional cases, establishing SHML as a clinic-pathological entity. [1] It occurs world-wide and is primarily a disease of childhood and early adulthood. Mean age of onset is 20 years. Rosai-Dorfmann syndrome (RDS) manifests with massive cervical lymphadenopathy, fever, leukocytosis, an increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and hypergammaglobulinemia. Other lymphatic groups, such as mediastinal, axillary and inguinal lymph nodes can also be affected. In about 25-40% of cases, extra nodal sites are also affected. [2],[3],[4] The concomitant involvement of one or more sites in the same individual is observed in 44.7% of cases.

The common sites for extranodal involvement are skin, mucosae, spinal cord, pancreas. [5] Extra-nodal involvement is often responsible for the most important clinical manifestation of the disease. Castleman's disease, dermopathic lymphadenitis, mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome (Kawasaki disease), histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenopathy (Kikuchi disease) and inflammatory pseudotumor of the lymph node are among the other rare causes of lymph node enlargement. RDS is one more addition to this list, whose etiology remains poorly elucidated. The diagnosis is based on presence of emperipolesis and immunohistochemistry. Its treatment is poorly defined but the prognosis is usually favorable and treatment strategies can be different according to severity or vital organ involvement.

  Case report Top

The present case report is about a 32-year-old female attended to our outpatient department with the complaints of recurrent fever, joint pains and multiple swellings all over the body and left periorbital swelling since last 7 years [Figure 1]. The lesions had been progressively increasing in size and number. On dermatological examination multiple tender erythematous indurated subcutaneous plaques noted on anterior abdominal wall, labia majora, right thigh, left buttock and left leg [Figure 2]. Plaques were tender, firm in consistency, varied in size from 5 to 8 cm in diameter. In addition, she also had left periorbital swelling and bilateral inguinal lymphadenopathy-discrete, mobile, firm, non-tender, 1-2 in number, 1.5 cm in size. No other lymph nodes were enlarged. Systemic examination was unremarkable. The presumptive diagnosis was made as panniculits. Laboratory findings included leukopenia, mild microcytic hypochromic anemia and elevated ESR 60 mm/h. Chest X-ray was normal. Fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) from swelling in the mid-thigh and left inguinal region revealed a picture predominantly composed of spindle cells, histiocytes with vesicular nuclei and moderate to abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm seen in small clusters and scattered individually [Figure 3] and [Figure 4]. Many of them contain lymphocytes and plasma cells consistent with emperipolesis. No evidence of neoplasm or any specific inflammation. The features were consistent with RDS. Histopathology showed foamy cell histiocytosis and lymphocytophagocytosis. Immuno-histochemistry and serum electrophoresis couldn't be done due to non-availability in our institute.
Figure 1: Clinical photograph showing periorbital swelling around left eye

Click here to view
Figure 2: Indurated erythematous plaque over the anterior aspect of left leg

Click here to view
Figure 3: Microphotograph (low power) of the lymph node showing characteristic emperipolesis: H and E staining

Click here to view
Figure 4: High-power view emperipolesis of histiocytes characterized by large vesicular nuclei and prominent nucleoli eosinophilic cytoplasm and intact lymphocytes (H and E, ×400)

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

RDS shows a world-wide distribution and can manifest in any age group. Nearly 81% of reported cases occur during the first and second decades of life and has a 2:1 male-to-female ratio. [3] The predominant clinical manifestation of the disease is massive cervical lymphadenopathy (87.3%), which in most cases, is painless and bilateral, affecting one or all cervical chains. The inguinal (25.7%), axillary (23.7%), and mediastinal (14.5%) regions can also be affected. Fever occurs in up to 30% of cases. Extra-nodal RDD can affect every organ; most common sites are skin (27.4%), nasal and paranasal cavities (26.8%), subcutaneous tissue (22.2%), orbit and eyelids (20.1%) and bone (18.4%). Laboratory alterations are frequent and include anemia (65.7%), leucocytosis (59.1%), neutrophillia (68.4%), increased ESR (88.5%) and hypergammaglobulinemia (90%).

Extranodal Rosai-Dorfman disease (RDD) is increasingly reported, approximately 43% of 600 registry cases, manifested with at least one site of extranodal involvement. [2] Moreover, extra-nodal disease may be the initial and sole manifestation of the disorder, making the eponym RDD more appropriate than the original term "SHML." [6]

Purely cutaneous RDD is indeed quite rare, and often assume a spontaneously involuting course. Previous reports on cutaneous manifestations of RDD by Thawerani et al. [7] and Chu and LeBoit [8] revealed a wide range of clinical presentations, such as exfoliative dermatitis, scaly erythematous lesions mimicking psoriasis, and pinhead-sized papules.

RDD has long been considered a reactive process; however, the etiology remains unclear. Immune deficiency and viral infection by Epstein-Barr virus [9] human herpes virus 6 [10],[11] or parvovirus B19 [12],[13] have been implicated as potential players in pathogenesis. A cytokine-mediated migration of monocytes may be involved in histiocytes accumulation and activation.

On morphological ground, recognition of cutaneous RDS should consider a variety of diseases in the differential diagnosis, including eruptive xanthoma, Tangier disease, Langerhans cell histiocytosis, reticulohistiocytoma, juvenile xanthogranuloma, lepramatous leprosy, Hodgkin's lymphoma, malignant histiocytosis, as well as inflammatory pseudotumours.

The natural course is generally favorable, resulting in complete resolution (1/4 of cases) but is usually marked by phases of remission, interrupted by acute attacks with nodal or extranodal extension. Many treatments have been tried such as vinca alkaloids, etoposide, ciclosporin and X-rays, but no ideal treatment has been identified and response is poor. [14]

RDD is rare, especially in Indian subcontinent. Physicians need to have a high degree of suspicion in patients presenting with generalized lymphadenopathy, with or without extranodal involvement, to diagnose RDD. S100 positive immunohistochemical staining clinch the diagnosis in favor of RDD.

In summary, we present a rare case of RDD involving skin and periorbital area in a middle age woman, with inguinal lymphadenopathy, anemia, leucopenia, raised ESR, FNAC [15] and histopathological report consistent with emperipolesis. Owing to its rarity at this location, it is crucial to include RDD in the differential diagnoses of an extranodal histiocytic lesion to avoid misdiagnosis.

  Acknowledgment Top

The authors would like to thank General Medicine Department, Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada.

  References Top

1.Rosai J, Dorfman RF. Sinus histiocytosis with massive lymphadenopathy. A newly recognized benign clinicopathological entity. Arch Pathol 1969;87:63-70.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Foucar E, Rosai J, Dorfman R. Sinus histiocytosis with massive lymphadenopathy (Rosai-Dorfman disease): Review of the entity. Semin Diagn Pathol 1990;7:19-73.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Sanchez R, Rosai J, Dorfman RF. Sinus histiocytosis with massive lymphadenopathy. An analysis of 113 cases with special emphasis on its extranodal manifestation. Lab Invest 1977;36:21-2.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Goodnight JW, Wang MB, Sercarz JA, Fu YS. Extranodal Rosai-Dorfman disease of the head and neck. Laryngoscope 1996;106:253-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Bhaskar V, Swamy K, Reddy BK, Supe SS, Kumar RV. Sinus histiocytosis with nodal and extranodal involvement - A case report. J Indian Med Assoc 2003;101:28-30.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Warnke RA, Weiss LM, Chan JK, Cleary ML, Dorfman RF. Atlas of Tumor Pathology. Tumors of the Lymph Nodes and Spleen. AFIP, 3 rd Series, Fascicles 4. Washington, DC, USA: Juan-Rosai; 1994. p. 349-59.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Thawerani H, Sanchez RL, Rosai J, Dorfman RF. The cutaneous manifestations of sinus histiocytes with massive lymphadenopathy. Arch Dermatol 1978;114:191-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Chu P, LeBoit PE. Histologic features of cutaneous sinus histiocytosis (Rosai-Dorfman disease): Study of cases both with and without systemic involvement. J Cutan Pathol 1992;19:201-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Tsang WY, Yip TT, Chan JK. The Rosai-Dorfman disease histiocytes are not infected by Epstein-Barr virus. Histopathology 1994;25:88-90.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Levine PH, Jahan N, Murari P, Manak M, Jaffe ES. Detection of human herpesvirus 6 in tissues involved by sinus histiocytosis with massive lymphadenopathy (Rosai-Dorfman disease). J Infect Dis 1992;166:291-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Luppi M, Barozzi P, Garber R, Maiorana A, Bonacorsi G, Artusi T, et al. Expression of human herpesvirus-6 antigens in benign and malignant lymphoproliferative diseases. Am J Pathol 1998;153:815-23.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Mehraein Y, Wagner M, Remberger K, Füzesi L, Middel P, Kaptur S, et al. Parvovirus B19 detected in Rosai-Dorfman disease in nodal and extranodal manifestations. J Clin Pathol 2006;59:1320-6.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Sarwal R, Tu E, Mendelblatt FI, Sugar J, Gross SA, Pulido JS, et al. Atypical ocular presentations of Rosai-Dorfman disease. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2008;16:9-15.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Komp DM. The treatment of sinus histiocytosis with massive lymphadenopathy (Rosai-Dorfman disease). Semin Diagn Pathol 1990;7:83-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Kumar B, Karki S, Paudyal P. Diagnosis of sinus histiocytosis with massive lymphadenopathy (Rosai-Dorfman disease) by fine needle aspiration cytology. Diagn Cytopathol 2008;36:691-5.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Case report
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded251    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal