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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dermatology Online Journal

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Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease preceded by lupus erythematosus panniculitis: do these findings together herald the onset of systemic lupus erythematosus?


Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease (KFD), also known as histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis, is a rare disorder that must be distinguished from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Although a minority of patients with KFD develop SLE, most patients have a self-limited disease. Importantly, KFD can have skin manifestations resembling cutaneous lupus. Therefore, the diagnosis of SLE should be predicated on a complete rheumatologic workup and not on the constellation of skin disease and lymphadenitis. Nonetheless, as our exceedingly rare case illustrates, patients who do not initially meet diagnostic criteria for SLE require dermatologic follow-up. We present a young adult woman who had a remote history of KFD and later presented with combined features of discoid lupus and lupus erythematosus panniculitis (LEP). On subsequent rheumatologic workup, she fulfilled criteria for SLE. We discuss the differential diagnosis of both KFD and LEP and emphasize how strong communication among dermatologists and other healthcare providers is essential in the management of patients with KFD.

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