This study examined the role of random normal skin biopsy in the diagnosis of intravascular lymphoma (IVL) in adult Western patients with clinically diagnosed hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).In a retrospective chart review study, we analyzed a total of 59 skin biopsies that were performed to diagnose IVL in 21 adult patients with HLH seen at Stanford Hospital between 2004 and 2016.Out of the 59 skin biopsies, 42 were taken from clinically normal-appearing skin and 17 from clinically abnormal-appearing skin. None of the 59 biopsies revealed a diagnosis of primary or metastatic malignancy, regardless of the malignancy history, clinical presentation, and biopsy and histopathologic characteristics. A review of 8 positive IVL cases at Stanford Hospital including 1 case associated with HLH showed 1 positive diagnosis by a targeted skin biopsy and other positive diagnoses by bone marrow (n = 4), lung (n = 2), brain (n = 2), muscle (n = 1), and nerve (n = 1).Random skin biopsies have a limited role in diagnosing IVL in adult patients with HLH, in the setting of a single academic institution in the USA. A review of the literature emphasizes the role of a full body skin exam with a selective skin biopsy in these patients.
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