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S-100 as a useful auxiliary diagnostic aid in tuberculoid leprosy.

BACKGROUND: The diagnosis of tuberculoid leprosy is often difficult on hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) due to the absence of demonstrable nerve destruction. This study evaluates the utility of S-100 staining in identifying nerve fragmentation and differentiation of tuberculoid leprosy from other cutaneous granulomatous diseases.

METHODS: Fifty cases of leprosy including 38 borderline tuberculoid (BT), two tuberculoid (TT), and 10 indeterminate leprosy (IL) were studied. Eleven controls of non-lepromatous cutaneous granulomatous lesions were included. S-100 was used for identifying the following dermal nerve patterns: infiltrated (A), fragmented (B), absent (C), and intact (D) nerves.

RESULTS: On H&E, only 18/38 (47.4%) BT cases and 1/2 (50%) TT cases revealed neural inflammation. On S-100 staining of BT cases, 28/38 (73.7%) showed pattern B followed by patterns C and A in 8/38 (21.1%) and 2/38 (5.3%) cases, respectively. Both the TT cases showed pattern B. Only intact nerves (D) were seen in all the control cases. S-100 identified nerve damage in 4/10 (40%) IL cases. The patterns A, B, and C had sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of 100% in diagnosing tuberculoid (BT + TT) leprosy.

CONCLUSIONS: S-100 is superior to H&E in identifying nerve fragmentation (p < 0.01). It also aids the differential diagnosis of tuberculoid leprosy.

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