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January 1956

Relapsing Febrile Nodular Nonsuppurative Panniculitis: Pfeifer-Weber-Christian Disease; Report of Three Cases

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Pathology, Passavant Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Medical School.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1956;97(1):39-44. doi:10.1001/archinte.1956.00250190055002

Relapsing febrile nodular nonsuppurative panniculitis is a syndrome of unknown etiology. It is characterized by a recurrent, nodular, nonsuppurative, inflammatory process in the subcutaneous fat. The outbreak of lesions is usually, but by no means necessarily, accompanied by a low-grade fever. The nodules occur most often on the legs, thighs, abdomen, and breasts. They vary from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter. Rarely, similar manifestations have been noticed in epicardial, peripancreatic, perirenal, periadrenal, and mesenteric adipose tissues. A fatal case of this type was reported by Mostofi and Engleman.11 The disease usually affects women, the ratio of the incidence being 3:1. The condition manifests itself most frequently between the second and fourth decades. Three cases in Negroes have been reported in the literature.

No specific therapy is known. Antibiotics and sulfonamides, especially sulfapyridine, have been used in some instances. Cortisone and corticotropin (ACTH) do not provide a