July 1954


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics (Dr. Freud and Dr. Luhby) and the Departments of Pathology and Clinical Pathology (Dr. Plachta and Dr. Speer), New York Medical College, Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1954;88(1):43-61. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1954.02050100045006

WE SHOULD like to present a heretofore unknown disease, "leukemic xanthomatosis." The condition is not familial or hereditary and is characterized by the following features:

  1. Xanthomatous skin lesions of the disseminated type and normal cholesterol blood levels.

  2. Development of generalized visceral reticuloendotheliosis with increased cholesterol tissue contents, a dense argyrophilic reticulum, and the appearance of foam cells—a histological picture similar to that of Hand-Schüller-Christian disease and its variants.

  3. Deposits of foci of primitive mesenchymal cells in the affected tissues—as commonly seen in leukemia—however, with many of these cells exhibiting a foamy protoplasm due to a high cholesterol content.

  4. Leukemic blood—and bone marrow findings and a fatal course as in leukemia.

  5. Numerous inclusion bodies were found in the organs of the presented case, and a virus was considered as a possible etiological agent.

In the aleukemic forms, the primitive stem cells do not differentiate into blood

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