Disseminated cutaneous Mycobacterium kansasii infection presenting with Rosai-Dorfman disease-like histological features in a patient carrying anti-interferon-γ autoantibodies

Yih An King, Chung Hong Hu, Yuarn Jang Lee, Chiou Feng Lin, Donald Liu, Kuo Hsien Wang

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Typical cutaneous non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections show a histopathology pattern of granulomas with admixed Langhans giant cells, and abscesses may be observed in acute lesions. Herein, we describe a patient carrying a high titer of autoantibodies to interferon (IFN)-γ with disseminated Mycobacterium kansasii infection presenting with emperipolesis and Rosai-Dorfman disease (RDD)-like histopathological features characterized by remarkable, large, pale-staining "RD cells", which were CD68 and S100 positive and CD1a negative. The patient was misdiagnosed with RDD initially, but exhibited a poor response to all interventions. A re-biopsy revealed Langhans-type multinucleated giant cells; multiple definite acid-fast bacilli were also found. M. kansasii was isolated from cultured tissues. Anti-NTM treatment was initiated. After treatment, all lesions resolved almost completely within the following month. High-titer anti-IFN-γ autoantibodies were detected during follow up, leading to the diagnosis of adult-onset immunodeficiency syndrome. In conclusion, patients carrying high-titer autoantibodies to IFN-γ who also have a disseminated cutaneous M. kansasii infection may present with RDD-like histopathological features, which may be a pitfall in the diagnosis of disseminated cutaneous NTM infections.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dermatology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017



  • Mycobacterium kansasii
  • Adult-onset immunodeficiency
  • Anti-interferon-γ autoantibodies
  • Non-tuberculous mycobacteria
  • Rosai-Dorfman disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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