Scientific article

Cutaneous Granulomatosis: a Comprehensive Review

Published inClinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology, vol. 54, no. 1, p. 131-146
Publication date2018

Cutaneous granulomatosis is a heterogeneous group of diseases, characterized by a skin inflammatory reaction triggered by a wide variety of stimuli, including infections, foreign bodies, malignancy, metabolites, and chemicals. From a pathogenic point of view, they are divided into non-infectious and infectious granulomas. Pathophysiological mechanisms are still poorly understood. Non-infectious granulomatous skin diseases include granuloma annulare, necrobiosis lipoidica, rheumatic nodules, foreign body granulomas, cutaneous sarcoidosis, and interstitial granulomatous dermatitis. Necrobiosis lipoidica is more frequent in diabetic patients. Infectious granulomas of the skin are caused by mycobacteria, in particular Mycobacterium tuberculosis or atypical mycobacteria; parasites, such as Leishmania; or fungi. Pathogenic mechanisms of M. tuberculosis-related granuloma are discussed. From a clinical point of view, it is useful to divide cutaneous granulomatosis into localized and more disseminated forms, although this distinction can be sometimes artificial. Three types of localized granulomatous lesions can be distinguished: palisaded granulomas (granuloma annulare, necrobiosis lipoidica, and rheumatoid nodules), foreign body granulomas, and infectious granulomas, which are generally associated with localized infections. Disseminated cutaneous granulomas can be divided into infectious, in particular tuberculosis, and non-infectious forms, among which sarcoidosis and interstitial granulomatous dermatitis. From a histological point of view, the common denominator is the presence of a granulomatous inflammatory infiltrate in the dermis and/or hypodermis; this infiltrate is mainly composed of macrophages grouped into nodules having a nodular, palisaded or interstitial architecture. Finally, we propose which diagnostic procedure should be performed when facing a patient with a suspected cutaneous granulomatosis.

  • Foreign body granulomas
  • Granuloma annulare
  • Granulomatous disease
  • Infectious granulomas
  • Interstitial granulomatous dermatitis
  • Necrobiosis lipoidica
  • Sarcoidosis
Citation (ISO format)
TERZIROLI BERETTA-PICCOLI, Benedetta et al. Cutaneous Granulomatosis: a Comprehensive Review. In: Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology, 2018, vol. 54, n° 1, p. 131–146. doi: 10.1007/s12016-017-8666-8
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1080-0549

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