Mucha-Habermann disease

Blanca Elena Rios Gomes Bica Maria da Glória Costa Reis Monteiro de Barros Carlos Spingola Junior About the authors

Abstracts

Os autores descrevem um caso de doença de Mucha-Habermann (DMH), que cursou com quadro sugestivo de síndrome de ativação macrofágica (SAM). O objetivo do trabalho foi descrever um caso de rara vasculite de Mucha-Habermann (pitiríase liquenoide e varioliforme aguda - PLEVA) em paciente de 28 anos que apresentou lesões ulceronecróticas generalizadas em pele e mucosas, acometimento gastrointestinal, cardíaco e hepático, associados a febre alta contínua, com provável evolução para SAM e posterior óbito. Trata-se de doença rara, potencialmente fatal, com graves complicações sistêmicas. Os autores ressaltam a importância de seu diagnóstico e de tratamento agressivo.

Pitiríase liquenoide; Febre; Síndrome de ativação macrofágica


A case of Mucha-Habermann disease (MHD), possibly associated with macrophage activation syndrome (MAS), is reported. The purpose of this paper was to describe the rare MHD (also known as pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta - PLEVA) in a 28-year-old male, who presented with generalized ulceronecrotic lesions on the skin and mucosae, gastrointestinal involvement, and heart andliver failure, associated with continuous high fever.The patient might have progressed to MAS and eventually died. The MHD is rare, potentially fatal and has severe systemic complications.The importance of early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is emphasized.

Pityriasislichenoides; Fever; Macrophage activation syndrome


CASE REPORT

Mucha-Habermann disease * * Study conducted at the Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.

Blanca Elena Rios Gomes Bica** ** Corresponding author. E-mail: blancaelena@hucff.ufrj.br ; Maria da Glória Costa Reis Monteiro de Barros; Carlos Spingola Junior

Service of Rheumatology, Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

ABSTRACT

A case of Mucha-Habermann disease (MHD), possibly associated with macrophage activation syndrome (MAS), is reported. The purpose of this paper was to describe the rare MHD (also known as pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta - PLEVA) in a 28-year-old male, who presented with generalized ulceronecrotic lesions on the skin and mucosae, gastrointestinal involvement, and heart andliver failure, associated with continuous high fever.The patient might have progressed to MAS and eventually died. The MHD is rare, potentially fatal and has severe systemic complications.The importance of early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is emphasized.

Keywords: Pityriasislichenoides, Fever, Macrophage activation syndrome

Introduction

Mucha-Habermann disease (MHD) was described by Degos et al. in 1966.1 It is considered a severe variant of pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta (PLEVA), characterized by polymorphic, ulceronecrotic and crusted lesions on the skin and mucosae, associated with high fever and systemic manifestations. So far, only 40 cases of MHD have been reported, and no treatment is available for that potentially lethal condition.2 We report the case of a male patient with MHD associated with probable macrophagic activation syn drome (MAS), and highlight the relevance of recognizing this syndrome.

Case report

The patient is a 28-year-old male, previously healthy, admitted to the Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, due to cutaneous findings initiated after the use of amoxicillin to treat a dental abscess. The patient had ulceronecrotic and crusted cutaneous-mucosal lesions on the limbs and trunk, associated with continuous high fever, emaciation, diarrhea, diffuse facial edema (Fig. 1), and huge hepatomegaly. The patient underwent comprehensive examination during hospitalization, the diagnosis of fever of obscure originbeing established. After improvement with symptomatic drugs, antibiotics and prednisone (1 mg/kg/day), he was followed up on an outpatient basis.


After 15 days, the patient was readmitted with congestive heart failure, whose cause was viral myocarditis. The fever peaks persisted. He showed only residual hypochromic cutaneous lesions. After cardiac compensation and antibiotic therapy (associated pneumonia), clinical improvement was observed.

Thirty days later, the patient was readmitted again with ulceronecrotic skin lesions (Fig. 2), high fever, jaundice, nausea and prostration. Viral and bacterial serologies, cultures, coagulogram and imaging tests resulted unspecific. The skin biopsy showed a lichenoid pattern, necrosis of keratinocytes and typical alterations of pityriasis lichenoides acuta.


Those data in association with high fever and systemic manifestations confirmed the diagnostic hypothesis of MHD. The patient developed liver failure, hyperferritinemia, and bicytopenia (white and megakaryocytic series). His general health status worsened, and he progressed to apathy and coma, being transferred to the intensive care unit with the hypothesis of MAS. Clinical support was instituted along with antibiotic therapy and methylprednisolone pulse therapy (500 mg) for three consecutive days. Myelogram and bone marrow biopsy evidenced no hemophagocytosis on the occasion. Although the skin lesions and fever improved, the patient developed acute pancreatitis, pulmonary sepsis, renal failure and refractory shock, progressing to multiple organ dysfunction and death after 45 days of hospitalization.

Discussion

Mucha3 and Habermann4 described in 1916 and in 1925, respectively, a form of pityriasis lichenoides characterized by the sudden onset of papulo-vesicular eruptions, called 'pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta' (PLEVA).

In 1966, Degos et al.1 described the MHD in areportof two cases with severe findings titled "Parapsoriasis ulceronecrotique hyperthermique".2,5 It is considered a severe variant of PLEVA, with polymorphic, ulceronecrotic and crusted lesions on the skin and mucosae, associated with high fever and systemic manifestations.2,6,7 Its etiology remains controversial and unknown, but it is believed to be related to infectious agents or immune complex deposition.The infectious agents most likely involved are as follows: adenovirus; Epstein-Barr virus; Toxoplasma gondii; Parvovirus B19; Staphylococcus aureus; Streptococcus pyogenes; and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.7 A mechanism related to clonal lymphoproliferative disorder has also been proposed.8-11 Male patients predominate, the MHD incidence being higher among children, adolescents and young adults. The mean age observed was 27 years, ranging from 4 to 82 years.12

The cutaneous manifestations of PLEVA usually precede the acute and severe course of disease.12-14 The lesions are characteristically polymorphic, ulceronecrotic, crusted and widespread, frequently secondarily infected, and tend to resolve with a hypochromic scar. The oral, genital and conjunctival mucosae might also be affected.11 The systemic manifestations described include liver and gastrointestinal dysfunction, lymphadenopathy, pancytopenia, cardiopathy, disseminated intravascular coagulation, interstitial pneumonitis, central nervous system impairment and rheumatologic manifestations,13 similarly to those of our patient.

The diagnosis is based on the presence of high fever, characteristic clinical findings, typical cutaneous changes, and skin biopsy compatible with PLEVA (perivascular lymphocytic inflammatory infiltrates in the superficial dermis, with epiderma lexocytosis of lymphocytic debris and parakeratotic scales, with accumulation of inflammatory cells between the different layers).11,14 The following are commonly observed during disease course: leukocytosis; C-reactive protein (CRP) elevation; increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR); hypergammaglobulinemia; and hypoproteinemia.13 Our patient's major laboratory findings were as follows: pancytopenia; increased CRP and ESR; hypoalbuminemia; and ferritin over 1,430 ng/dL (reference range: 5-148 ng/dL).

The prognosis is worse in adults, with mortality rate of 33% - there is no report of death in children.11 Death usually results from pneumonia, sepsis, pulmonary thromboembolism, heart failure, hypovolemic shock, and massive thrombosis of the superior mesenteric artery.8,11

Although several therapeutic modalities have been reported, so far there is no definitive treatment recommended for all patients.11 Most are treated with multiple therapeutic options, such as systemic glucocorticoids, antibiotics, acyclovir, methotrexate, phototherapy, immunoglobulin, cyclosporine13 and dapsone, reflecting the complexity of the management of those patients.

More recent studies have reported success with the use of methotrexate associated with methylprednisolone pulse therapy.13 Therapy effectiveness is difficult to measure, because the number of cases reported is small.11,13 Critical care, supportive therapy and management of superinfections are usually required due to the severity of the pathology. Antitumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) agents may be first-line therapy in the future, since high TNF-α titers have been observed in those patients. However, further studies are necessary to clarify that observation.13

We reported a case initially diagnosed as fever of obscure origin despite extensive investigation. The association of persistent high fever, disseminated ulceronecrotic cutaneous lesions, and typical histopathological findings in the skin biopsy corroborated the diagnosis of MHD. The patient, however, progressed with alterations typical of MAS, such as hyperferritinemia, fever, bicytopenia, apathy, liver and blood dysfunctions. Although there was no evidence of hemophagocytosis in the bone marrow biopsy, that diagnostic hypothesis was not ruled out, because, in the disease's initial phase, bone marrow findings can be unspecific.14-17 The patient had several complications, such as pulmonary sepsis, acute pancreatitis, liver and renal failures, progressing to death, despite broad spectrum antibiotic therapy, methylprednisolone pulse therapy and supportive therapy at the intensive care unit.17,18

We found no association between MHD and MAS reported in the literature. It is worth noting the similarity of the triggers of both pathologies, which may be correlated in the future.

Conclusion

Although rare, the potentially fatal MHD should be considered when assessing patients with high fever, ulceronecrotic skin lesions and systemic manifestations. Skin biopsy is valuable in such cases. The MHD's rarity and difficult management reinforce the importance of exchanging experience about those patients.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

REFERENCES

1. Degos R, Duperrat B, Daniel F. Le Parapsoriasis ulceronecrotique hyperthermique. Ann Dermatol Syphiligr 1966;93(5):481-96.

2. Sotiriou E, Patsatsi A, Tsorova C, Lazaridou E, Sotiriadis D. Febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann disease: a case report and review of the literature. Acta Derm Venereol 2008;88(4):350-5.

3. Mucha V. Ubereinen der Parakeratosisvariegata (Unna) bzw. Pityriasis lichenoides chronica (Neisser-Juliusberg) nahestehendeneigentumlichen fall. Arch DermatolSyph. 1916;132:586-92.

4. Habermann, R. Über die akut Verlaufende, nekrotisierende Unterart der pityriasis lichenoides (Pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta). Dermatol Zeitschr. 1925;45:42-8.

5. Klein PA, Jones EC, Nelson JL, Clark RA. Infectious causes of pytiriasis lichenoides: a case of fulminant infectious mononucleosis. J Am Acad Dermatol Venereol 2007;49:S151-3.

6. Miyamoto T, Takayama N, Kitada S, Hagari Y, Mihara M. Febrile Ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann disease: a case report and review of the literature. J Clin Pathol. 2003;56:795-97.

7. Yang CC, Lee JY, Chen W. Febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann disease with extensive skin necrosis in intertriginous areas. Eur J Dermatol 2003;13(5):493-6.

8. Yanaba K, Ito M, Sasaki H, Inoue M, Nobeyama Y, Yonemoto H, et al. A case of febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann disease requiring debridement of necrotic skin and epidermal autograft. Br J Dermatol 2002;147(6):1249-53.

9. Rivera R, Ortiz P, Rodriguez-Peralto JL, Vanaclocho F, Iglesias L. Febrile ulceronecrotic pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta with atypical cells. Int J Dermatol 2003;42(1):26-8.

10. Dereure O, Levi E, Kadin ME. T-cell clonality in pytiriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta: a heteroduplex analysis of 20 cases. Arch Dermato 2000;136(12):1483-6.

11. Cozzio A, Hafner J, Kempf W, Häffner A, Palmedo G, Michaelis S, et al. Febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann diasease with clonality: A cutaneous T-cell lymphoma entity? J Am Acad Dermatol 2004;51(6):1014-7.

12. Ito N, Oshima A, Hashizume H, Takigawa M, Tokura Y. Febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann's disease managed with methilprednisolone semipulse and subsequent methotrexate therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol 2003;49(6):1142-7

13. Kim HS, Yu DS, Kim JW. A case of febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann's disease successfully treated with oral cyclosporin. J Eur Acad Dermatol 2007;21(2):272-3

14. Tsianakas A, Hoeger PH. Transition of pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta to febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann diasease is associated with elevated serum tumour necrosis factor-α. British Journal of Dermatology 2005;152(4):794-9.

15. Grom AA, Mellins ED. Macrophage activation Syndrome: advances towards understanding pathogenesis. Curr Opin Rheumatol 2010;22(5):561-6.

16. Kumakura S, Ishikura H, Kondo M, Murakawa Y, Masuda em adulto com boa resposta à corticoterapia oral. An Bras J, Kobayashi S. Autoimmune-associated with hemophagocytic Dermatol 2010;85(6):891-4. syndrome. Mod Rheumatol 2004;14(3):205-15. 18. Aytekin S, Balci G, Duzgum OY. Febrile ulceronecrotic

17. Nassif PW, Godoy DAS, Nakandakari S, Alves CJ, Soares CT. Doença de Mucha-Habermann ulceronecrótica febril em adulto com boa resposta à corticoterapia oral. An Bras Dermatol 2010;85(6):891-4.

18. Aytekin S, Balci G, Duzgum OY. Febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann disease: a case report and review of the literature. Dermatol Online J 2005;11(3):31.

Received 27 November 2011

Accepted 18 February 2013

  • *
    Study conducted at the Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
  • **
    Corresponding author. E-mail:
    • 1
      Degos R, Duperrat B, Daniel F. Le Parapsoriasis ulceronecrotique hyperthermique. Ann Dermatol Syphiligr 1966;93(5):481-96.
    • 2
      Sotiriou E, Patsatsi A, Tsorova C, Lazaridou E, Sotiriadis D. Febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann disease: a case report and review of the literature. Acta Derm Venereol 2008;88(4):350-5.
    • 3
      Mucha V. Ubereinen der Parakeratosisvariegata (Unna) bzw. Pityriasis lichenoides chronica (Neisser-Juliusberg) nahestehendeneigentumlichen fall. Arch DermatolSyph. 1916;132:586-92.
    • 4
      Habermann, R. Über die akut Verlaufende, nekrotisierende Unterart der pityriasis lichenoides (Pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta). Dermatol Zeitschr. 1925;45:42-8.
    • 5
      Klein PA, Jones EC, Nelson JL, Clark RA. Infectious causes of pytiriasis lichenoides: a case of fulminant infectious mononucleosis. J Am Acad Dermatol Venereol 2007;49:S151-3.
    • 6
      Miyamoto T, Takayama N, Kitada S, Hagari Y, Mihara M. Febrile Ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann disease: a case report and review of the literature. J Clin Pathol. 2003;56:795-97.
    • 7
      Yang CC, Lee JY, Chen W. Febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann disease with extensive skin necrosis in intertriginous areas. Eur J Dermatol 2003;13(5):493-6.
    • 8
      Yanaba K, Ito M, Sasaki H, Inoue M, Nobeyama Y, Yonemoto H, et al. A case of febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann disease requiring debridement of necrotic skin and epidermal autograft. Br J Dermatol 2002;147(6):1249-53.
    • 9
      Rivera R, Ortiz P, Rodriguez-Peralto JL, Vanaclocho F, Iglesias L. Febrile ulceronecrotic pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta with atypical cells. Int J Dermatol 2003;42(1):26-8.
    • 10
      Dereure O, Levi E, Kadin ME. T-cell clonality in pytiriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta: a heteroduplex analysis of 20 cases. Arch Dermato 2000;136(12):1483-6.
    • 11
      Cozzio A, Hafner J, Kempf W, Häffner A, Palmedo G, Michaelis S, et al. Febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann diasease with clonality: A cutaneous T-cell lymphoma entity? J Am Acad Dermatol 2004;51(6):1014-7.
    • 12
      Ito N, Oshima A, Hashizume H, Takigawa M, Tokura Y. Febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann's disease managed with methilprednisolone semipulse and subsequent methotrexate therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol 2003;49(6):1142-7
    • 13
      Kim HS, Yu DS, Kim JW. A case of febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann's disease successfully treated with oral cyclosporin. J Eur Acad Dermatol 2007;21(2):272-3
    • 14
      Tsianakas A, Hoeger PH. Transition of pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta to febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann diasease is associated with elevated serum tumour necrosis factor-α. British Journal of Dermatology 2005;152(4):794-9.
    • 15
      Grom AA, Mellins ED. Macrophage activation Syndrome: advances towards understanding pathogenesis. Curr Opin Rheumatol 2010;22(5):561-6.
    • 17
      Nassif PW, Godoy DAS, Nakandakari S, Alves CJ, Soares CT. Doença de Mucha-Habermann ulceronecrótica febril em adulto com boa resposta à corticoterapia oral. An Bras Dermatol 2010;85(6):891-4.
    • 18
      Aytekin S, Balci G, Duzgum OY. Febrile ulceronecrotic Mucha-Habermann disease: a case report and review of the literature. Dermatol Online J 2005;11(3):31.

    * Study conducted at the Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil. ** Corresponding author. E-mail: blancaelena@hucff.ufrj.br

    Publication Dates

    • Publication in this collection
      16 Sept 2013
    • Date of issue
      June 2013

    History

    • Received
      27 Nov 2011
    • Accepted
      18 Feb 2013
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