Clear cell dermatofibroma

Histopathology. 1997 Jan;30(1):64-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2559.1997.d01-557.x.


This series presents six cases of a rare variant of dermatofibroma, characterized by marked clear cell change. All lesions occurred on the lower extremities of middle-aged adults (four women, two men), mostly with the clinical diagnosis of fibrohistiocytic lesion. Histological examination revealed well circumscribed, faintly stained dermal to subcutaneous lesions which were due to the overwhelming presence of clear cells (> 90%), some with prominent PAS-positive cytoplasmic granulation. Overlying epidermal hyperplasia as well as storiform arrangement of spindle cells, sclerotic collagen and some interspersed lympho-histiocytic infiltrate at the periphery of the lesion indicated the fibrohistiocytic origin. Individual histopathological peculiarities included: bizarre giant cells in two cases, perifollicular arrangement and haemangiopericytoma-like features with iron deposition in one case each. Immunohistochemically three of four lesions showed moderate reactivity for factor XIIIa and two of four with an anti-metallothionen marker E9, but were otherwise negative with a broad panel of markers. Electronmicroscopy in two cases revealed large pools of glycogen beside focal, prominent endoplasmic reticulum and lysosomes in some granular cells, but only optically translucent cells in cases of clear cells. Recognition of clear cell dermatofibroma is important as the differential diagnosis includes some entities with more serious outcome/considerations such as metastases of renal cell carcinoma, xanthogranulomatous reactions, balloon cell naevus/melanoma and clear cell sarcoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Histiocytoma, Benign Fibrous / chemistry
  • Histiocytoma, Benign Fibrous / pathology*
  • Histiocytoma, Benign Fibrous / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Knee
  • Male
  • Metatarsus
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Thigh