Case of toxic epidermal necrolysis occurring after bone marrow transplantation accompanied by engraftment failure

J Dermatol. 2019 Jun;46(6):540-543. doi: 10.1111/1346-8138.14913. Epub 2019 May 20.


Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is a rare condition, causing life-threatening adverse cutaneous reactions. TEN occurrence after bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is a well-known phenomenon; however, to date, only a few cases have been reported in the published work. Here, we describe the case of a 53-year-old woman who experienced TEN after undergoing allogenic BMT for malignant lymphoma. Skin erosion spread across a maximum of 70% of the body surface area and severe mucosal lesions developed. Steroid pulse therapy, plasma apheresis and immunoglobulin therapy were administrated, which resulted in the complete resolution of TEN. However, she developed hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis and died 38 days after BMT, owing to rupture of the lower digestive tract complicated by multi-organ failure. In our case, engraftment failure occurred, and the peripheral white blood cell count was less than 100/μL during the TEN course, suggesting that the presence of only a few immune cells could cause TEN. Our findings showed that high mortality rates and widespread skin erosion could be regarded as the most important characteristics of TEN occurring after BMT.

Keywords: bone marrow transplantation; engraftment failure; graft-versus-host disease; neutropenia; toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / complications
  • Graft Rejection / immunology*
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic / etiology
  • Lymphoma / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Organ Failure / etiology
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / etiology
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / complications
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / immunology*
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / therapy