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Primary cutaneous marginal zone lymphoma associated with juxta-articular fibrotic nodules in a teenager


John Andrew Carlson, MD, FRCPC,

Divisions of Dermatology and Dermatopathology, Albany Medical College MC-81, Albany, NY 12208, USA

Tel: +518 262 6414

Fax: +518 262 6251



Primary cutaneous marginal zone lymphoma (PCMZL) has rarely been reported in teenagers and is occasionally associated with Borrelia burgdorferi infection. Juxta-articular fibrotic nodules represent a unique, localized fibrosing response to spirochete infections, namely Borreliosis. Herein, we report a 15-year-old healthy boy who presented with a 4-year history of progressive acquisition of asymptomatic, erythematous nodules, ≤3 cm, beginning with his right forearm (3), then right arm (1) and lastly his right inner thigh (1). Biopsy showed PCMZL in three of five samples, and inflamed, fibrotic nodules, near the elbow in two. The bottom heavy lymphomatous nodules consisted of mostly small CD20+ CD43+ lymphocytes, some with plasmacytoid features. Mature plasma cells were lambda light chain restricted by in situ hybridization. The juxta-articular fibrotic nodules were located in the deep dermis and subcutis, had peripheral plasma cell-rich infiltrates, and showed nodular sclerosis (morphea profunda-like) in one, and lamellar and angiocentric sclerosis in the other reminiscent of quiescent lesions of chronic localized fibrosing leukocytoclastic vasculitis. Immunohistochemistry for B. burgdorferi revealed rare positive organisms; however, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and serology were negative for B. burgdorferi as were serologic and/or PCR assays for Bartonella henselae, Ba. quintana, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Treponema pallidum, Helicobacter pylori and Babesia microti. No evidence of extracutaneous disease was found by the review of systems and imaging studies. A 4-week trial of doxycycline therapy failed, whereas intralesional (IL) corticosteroid therapy induced rapid regression of his nodules. After two local recurrences, also treated with IL corticosteroids, he is well, without cutaneous disease, 20 months later. A literature review of 19 pediatric cases PCMZL reveals a similar natural history as adult PCMZL. Despite negative serology and PCR for B. burgdorferi, the occurrence of ipsilateral juxta-articular fibrotic nodules, positive B. burgdorferi immunohistochemistry and rapid response to IL corticosteroids implicate the presence of a replicative or non-replicative infectious (spirochetal) antigen in the initiation and promotion of this teenager's PCMZL.