Folliculitis Decalvans and Lichen Planopilaris Phenotypic Spectrum-A Series of 7 New Cases With Focus on Histopathology

Andjela Egger, Olivera Stojadinovic, Mariya Miteva
American Journal of Dermatopathology 2020, 42 (3): 173-177

BACKGROUND: Folliculitis decalvans (FD) and lichen planopilaris (LPP) are classified as neutrophilic and lymphocytic cicatricial alopecias according to the North American Hair Research Society. Recently, a clinical phenotype combining concomitant or sequential features for both was described as a FD LPP phenotypic spectrum (FDLPPPS).

OBJECTIVES: To review the most common phenotypic presentation of FDLPPPS with a main focus on histopathology.

METHODS: We reviewed retrospectively series of 7 patients with a similar phenotypic presentation with special focus on the histologic pattern. All patients presented with concomitant features for FD and LPP and recalcitrant course unresponsive to topical and systemic immunomodulatory/anti-inflammatory agents.

RESULTS: The most common clinical phenotype was that of hairless patches on the vertex with lost follicular ostia and perifollicular scale and the following diagnostic findings: (1) polytrichia; (2) positive bacterial culture for Staphylococcus in over 50% of the samples isolated from pustules and hemorrhagic crusts; (3) "mixed" histologic features for primary cicatricial alopecia including multicompound follicular structures of average 2-5 follicles (follicular packs), atrophy of the follicular epithelium, lymphohistiocytic infiltrate with granulomas, and prominent plasma cells, but absence of neutrophilic infiltrate in all cases except scarce neutrophils in one; and (4) clinical improvement with adjuvant systemic antimicrobials.

CONCLUSIONS: The FDLPPPS may be underreported and should be considered in all cases of LPP recalcitrant to treatment. Dermatologists and dermatopathologists should recognize this phenotypic spectrum to guide optimal clinical management consisting of immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory agents along with systemic antimicrobials.

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