Rheumatoid Nodules

Dermatol Clin. 2015 Jul;33(3):361-71. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2015.03.004.


Rheumatoid nodules are a common manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis. These lesions are often easily identified based on typical diagnostic features and characteristic locations. When biopsied, nodules have a characteristic histologic appearance. Uncommonly, rheumatoid nodules can occur in systemic locations. There is no evidence that systemic therapy treats underlying rheumatoid nodules. Paradoxically, methotrexate and possibly tumor necrosis factor inhibitors can increase nodule development. Treatment of rheumatoid nodules is often not necessary, unless patients are experiencing pain or there is interference of mechanical function. This review outlines the available data on and associations of rheumatoid nodules.

Keywords: Accelerated nodulosis; Benign nodulosis; Methotrexate; Palisading macrophages; Pulmonary rheumatoid nodules; Rheumatoid arthritis; Rheumatoid nodules.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects
  • Multiple Pulmonary Nodules / diagnosis*
  • Rheumatoid Nodule / chemically induced
  • Rheumatoid Nodule / pathology*
  • Skin / pathology*


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Methotrexate