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January 1994

Lichenoid Chronic Graft-vs-Host Disease Occurring in a Dermatomal Distribution

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Freemer, Farmer, and Corio) and Oncology (Drs Altomonte, Wagner, Vogelsang, and Santos), The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md. Dr Farmer is now with the Department of Dermatology, Indiana University, Indianapolis.

Arch Dermatol. 1994;130(1):70-72. doi:10.1001/archderm.1994.01690010074010

Background:  Chronic graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) is a late complication of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation and is associated with high morbidity and mortality. While the pathogenesis of chronic GVHD is not fully understood, several observations and studies suggest that viral infections may play a role. We describe two patients who developed linear lichenoid chronic GVHD. The dermatomal distribution of their lesions suggests an association with herpes zoster virus infection.

Observations:  Two allogeneic bone marrow transplantation patients developed violaceous papules in a dermatomal distribution. Histologic examination of these lesions revealed dyskeratosis, vacuolar changes in the basal layer, and a mild perivascular and interstitial infiltrate, diagnostic of lichenoid chronic GVHD.

Conclusions:  The linear distribution of our patients' lichenoid chronic GVHD is unique and may represent an association with herpes zoster virus infection, providing further support for a role for viral infections in the pathogenesis of chronic GVHD.(Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:70-72)

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