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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Feb;66(2):e55-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2010.09.732. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

Cutaneous small-vessel vasculitis associated with solid organ malignancies: the Mayo Clinic experience, 1996 to 2009.

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Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.



Although rare, cutaneous small-vessel vasculitis (CSVV) secondary to solid organ malignancy has been documented.


We sought to better understand the frequency, clinical course, therapeutic response, and outcome of CSVV associated with solid organ malignancy.


We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients seen between 1996 and 2009 with diagnoses of biopsy-proven cutaneous leukocytoclastic vasculitis and solid organ malignancy separated by less than 12 months.


Of 17 patients (mean age, 66.5 years), 10 patients (59%) were male. CSVV occurred before (3 patients; 18%), concurrent with (3 patients; 18%), and after (11 patients; 65%) diagnosis of solid organ malignancy. The most common solid organ malignancy was of the lung (n = 4; 24%). Other associated cancers were breast (n = 3); prostate (n = 2); colon (n = 2); renal (n = 2); thyroid (n = 1); bladder (n = 1); gallbladder (n = 1); and peritoneal (n = 1). Three patients had cutaneous vasculitis in association with malignancy recurrence despite having no cutaneous vasculitis associated with their primary malignancy. Vasculitis remission with use of immunosuppressive agents alone occurred in 9 patients (53%). Eleven patients (65%) were alive at last follow-up (mean follow-up duration, 27 months).


This was a retrospective study with a relatively small number of patients.


Solid organ malignancy should be considered as a possible cause of CSVV of unknown origin. In contrast to previous reports, our patients were more likely to respond to immunosuppressive therapies without treatment of the associated malignancy and to be alive at last follow-up.

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