Skin involvement in myelogenous leukemia: morphologic and immunophenotypic heterogeneity of skin infiltrates

Mod Pathol. 1994 Sep;7(7):771-9.


A systematic morphological analysis of cutaneous infiltrates in acute myelogenous leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome revealed that in many cases the infiltrating cells have a different phenotype from those in the bone marrow. This study sought to answer two questions: (a) How wide is the range of cytological features and immunoreactivity of the cutaneous infiltrates and what danger is there of misinterpretation? (b) What are the possible causes of the wide spectrum of differentiation of the cells infiltrating the skin? Skin biopsy specimens from 16 patients with myelogenous leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome were investigated. The diagnosis was acute myelomonocytic leukemia (M4, according to the French-American-British/FAB system of classification of acute leukemias) in eight cases, acute monocytic leukemia (M5) in four cases, aleukemic leukemia cutis as a recurrence of M2 leukemia after treatment in one case, and myelodysplastic syndrome in three cases, including one case of myelodysplasia with an excess of bone marrow blasts (RAEB-T) and two cases of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, one of which presented as aleukemic leukemia cutis. Reactivity with the macrophage-associated antibodies anti-CD68, Ki-M1p, and anti-lysozyme was the most consistent. However, the naphthol AS-D chloroacetate esterase reaction and staining with DAKO-M1, Ki-My2p, anti-neutrophil elastase, and anti-CD34 were found to be of little value for identifying the cutaneous infiltrate as myelogenous. Some antibodies (e.g., anti-S100 protein and MB2) even produced staining in a few cases that could have led to a mistaken diagnosis of histiocytic neoplasm or malignant lymphoma.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • HLA-DR Antigens / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Leukemia, Monocytic, Acute / pathology*
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Acute / pathology*
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic / pathology*
  • Leukemic Infiltration / pathology*
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / pathology*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology*


  • HLA-DR Antigens