Lupus erythematosus with an erythema multiforme-like eruption

G Roustan, C Salas, C Barbadillo, E Sánchez Yus, J Mulero, A Simón
European Journal of Dermatology: EJD 2000, 10 (6): 459-62
We describe a patient diagnosed with lupus erythematosus (LE) who developed an acute generalized eruption characterized by erythema multiforme (EM)-like lesions. Biopsy specimen showed foci of vacuolar alteration at the dermo-epidermal junction and frequent necrotic keratinocytes. Laboratory tests disclosed a speckled-homogenous antinuclear antibody titer of 1:640, leucopenia and hypocomplementemia. Anti-Ro/anti-La antibodies and rheumatoid factor were negative. Treatment with high-dose oral prednisone and azathioprine led to complete remission of the cutaneous lesions, although eruption recurred two years later. We believe that this patient presented a subacute cutaneous lupus eythematous with a distinctive erythema multiforme-like eruption. This case could be included in the so-called Rowell's syndrome, although it does not fit all the immunological characteristics reported in the original description, as in many of the previously reported cases. At the present time there seems to be enough evidence to classify Rowell's syndrome within the subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus subset. Finally, a coexistence of LE and EM can not be completely discarded in our patient, although no causative factor was found.

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