Cutaneous lupus erythematosus on the elbows: a peculiar localization

Background: The presence of lesions limited to the elbows as expression of a cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) is very unusual. Objectives: To describe the clinical and microscopic characteristics of these lesions, as well as their relationship with the different cutaneous lupus erythematosus subsets. Methods: Seven cases of CLE with lesions on the elbows, collected from 1998 to 2009, were retrospectively analysed. All patients had a previous or concomitant diagnosis of lupus erythematosus based on other typical skin lesions for each subtype of lupus erythematosus, and they all met clinical and microscopic criteria. Results: Six patients were women with a mean age of 33.8 years. Five cases had been previously diagnosed with CLE (three lupus erythematosus [LE] tumidus, one subacute CLE and one acute CLE). In the other two cases, these lesions were the first manifestation of the disease. The lesions consisted of pruriginous, erythematous papules and plaques with a slightly scaly surface, located on both elbows. Microscopically, in addition to the typical features of CLE, other changes were observed, including alterations in the texture and the staining properties of collagen fibres (five cases), an interstitial histiocytic infiltrate (four cases), eosinophils (one case) and a Churg–Strauss granuloma (one case). Conclusions: These peculiar lesions located on the elbows should be included in the spectrum of cutaneous manifestations of LE. Their histopathology combines changes of both LE and interstitial granulomatous dermatitis.


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