Rosai-Dorfman Disease

Rosai-Dorfman Disease

L. Jeffrey Medeiros, MD

Roberto N. Miranda, MD

Lymph node biopsy specimen is involved by Rosai-Dorfman disease (RDD). The RDD histiocytes have abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm and show prominent emperipolesis image in this field.

S100 stain highlights the cytoplasm of RDD histiocytes. S100 negatively outlines intracytoplasmic lymphocytes image in cells with emperipolesis.



  • Sinus histiocytosis with massive lymphadenopathy (SHML)

  • Histiocytose lipidique ganglionnaire pseudotumorale de Destombes


Infectious Agents

  • Histologic similarities between Salmonella infection and RDD have been observed

    • No culture evidence or other data to support

    • Other infectious agents are possible

  • One study has reported SV40 polyoma virus in subset of cases of soft tissue-based RDD


  • RDD has been reported in identical twins or families, suggesting genetic predisposition

  • Rare familial forms of RDD have been reported

    • SLC29A3 mutations have been identified

  • Faisalabad histiocytosis is genetic syndrome that is similar to RDD


  • An autoimmune etiology has been suggested

    • Subset of RDD patients have coexistent autoimmune disease

    • Association with autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome


  • RDD, typically focal, can be associated with lymphomas, most commonly

    • Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma

    • Follicular lymphoma


  • Most cases of RDD are of unknown etiology



  • Incidence

    • Rare; worldwide geographic distribution

  • Age

    • Wide range

    • Newborn to ˜ 75 years; more common in children

  • Gender

    • M:F = 3:2

  • Ethnicity

    • All races affected


  • Lymph nodes

  • Extranodal sites in ˜ 20% of patients

    • Head and neck region common

      • Upper respiratory tract, skin

    • Other common sites

    • Skin, soft tissues, gastrointestinal tract

    • Bones, breast, dura


  • Lymphadenopathy, often without any symptoms

    • Usually localized

    • Cervical lymph nodes most often involved

    • Often bilateral with massive enlargement

  • B symptoms are uncommon but can occur

    • Fever, night sweats can precede lymphadenopathy

  • Laboratory abnormalities in subset of patients

    • Polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia common

    • Blood lymphocytes with low CD4 to CD8 ratio

    • Hemolytic anemia


  • Excellent for most affected patients

  • Rare cases can be clinically aggressive

    • No effective therapy for these rare aggressive cases

    • Fatalities can occur as a result of

    • Accompanying immune dysregulation

    • Mass effect in vital organs


Radiographic Findings

  • Lymphadenopathy


General Features

  • Enlarged lymph nodes: Often massive

    • Often matted with capsular fibrosis


Histologic Features

  • Lymph nodes

    • Overall lymph node architecture is intact but distorted

    • Marked dilatation of sinuses

      • Filled with RDD histiocytes

      • Associated with small lymphocytes and plasma cells

      • Granulocytes not present, unless superimposed necrosis or infection

    • RDD histiocytes show emperipolesis

      • Engulf cells that become located in histiocyte cytoplasm

      • Small lymphocytes, plasma cells, or erythrocytes

      • Cells surrounded by intracytoplasmic vacuole that appears as a halo

      • Engulfed cells are usually viable

    • Often marked plasmacytosis between sinuses

    • Sclerosis is common (˜ 75% of cases)

    • Reactive follicles often present

    • Eosinophils rare or absent; mitoses are uncommon

    • Rarely, affected lymph nodes can undergo infarct

  • Extranodal sites

    • RDD histiocytes can be sparse in areas

      • Emperipolesis can be absent

    • Small lymphocytes and plasma cells often numerous

    • Fibrosis can be prominent

  • RDD can be associated with Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphomas

    • RDD is often a small focus in this setting

    • Incidental finding usually without impact on prognosis

Cytologic Features

  • RDD histiocytes are characterized by

    • Large size with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm

      • Well-defined cell borders

    • Central, often round nucleus

      • Distinct central nucleolus

    • Emperipolesis ±/-, with small lymphocytes in histiocyte cytoplasm

    • Halos around lymphocytes not seen in cytologic preparations

    • Halos are result of fixation artifact in routine histologic sections

  • Associated with many inflammatory cells

    • Early lesions: Many small lymphocytes and immunoblasts

    • Late lesions: More plasma cells; cytoplasmic globules (± Russell bodies)

Predominant Pattern/Injury Type

  • Sinusoidal

Predominant Cell/Compartment Type

  • Histiocyte

Jul 8, 2016 | Posted by in PATHOLOGY & LABORATORY MEDICINE | Comments Off on Rosai-Dorfman Disease
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