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Abstract

Background  Sarcoidosis is a multisystem granulomatous disorder of unknown aetiology. Our clinical experience suggests that facial involvement and the angiolupoid variant appear more common in our patients compared with series reported from the western countries.

Objective  To characterize the clinicopathologic features of cutaneous sarcoidosis diagnosed in our department and to compare our data with those in the literature.

Methods  We conducted a clinicopathologic review of biopsy-proved cases of cutaneous sarcoidosis diagnosed during January 2002–December 2010.

Results  Our study consisted of 37 patients, ages 26–84 years (mean 54.3 years), of whom 84% were females. Systemic involvement was detected in 73%, affecting the lung in 57%, lymph nodes in 65% and eyes in 43%. Most skin lesions were the papulonodular type (70%) and confined to the face (54%). The angiolupoid variant, while rare in Europe and America, was the most common variant (38%) in our series and often associated with eye involvement. The histology was characterized by infiltration of naked sarcoidal granulomas, mostly (86%) mixed with variable amounts of tuberculoid granulomas in the dermis and/or the subcutis. Other findings included fibrinoid necrosis (23%), foreign bodies (16%), osteoclast-like cells (14%) and granuloma annulare-like and necrobiosis lipoidica-like features.

Conclusion  The present series of cutaneous sarcoidosis was characterized by a marked female predominance and by high proportions of facial involvement and the angiolupoid variant. Angiolupoid sarcoidosis was often associated with eye involvement. A complete dermatologic examination and biopsy of suspicious skin lesions should be routinely performed to facilitate early diagnosis of sarcoidosis.