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Int J Dermatol. 1999 Feb;38(2):111-8.

Atypical cutaneous lymphoproliferative disorder in patients with HIV infection.

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Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New York, USA.



An inflammatory pruritic eruption which is characterized histologically by CD8+, atypical lymphocytes has been described in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. This disorder has been described as "pseudo-Sezary" or a "cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL)-simulant", however, as these patients do not resemble CTCL clinically, and the relationship between this entity and CTCL is unclear, a more descriptive term is "atypical cutaneous lymphoproliferative disorder" (ACLD). The purpose of this study is to categorize the clinical, histologic, and immunophenotypic features of 16 HIV-infected patients with this skin disorder seen at the New York Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.


A retrospective chart review was conducted on 16 HIV-infected patients with a histologic diagnosis of an atypical cutaneous lymphoproliferative infiltrate on skin biopsy. Skin biopsies were reviewed, and histologic features noted. Immunophenotyping was performed on 14 out of 16 samples; electron microscopy was performed on samples from five patients. Clinical manifestations, disease course, medication history, and response to treatment were noted.


The patients presented with a pruritic, persistent, generalized, papular eruption. Pigment changes, including hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation were common. Histologically, lesional biopsies were characterized by a superficial and deep polymorphous infiltrate with atypical lymphocytes which were CD8+ predominant, Ki-1 negative, and occasionally CD7 antigen depleted. Sezary-like cells were present in the infiltrate in four out of five patients by electron microscopy. None of the patients has systemic manifestations of lymphoma; however, one of the 16 patients eventually developed frank CTCL.


HIV-infected patients can present with a pruritic, widespread disorder, often with pigment changes characterized by an atypical cutaneous lymphocytic infiltrate. This clinicopathologic disorder is a rare, reactive inflammatory condition which generally occurs in late stage HIV infection and rarely progresses to frank lymphoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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