Deep granuloma annulare (pseudorheumatoid nodule) in children: Clinicopathologic study of 35 cases

M. B. Mcdermott, A. C. Lind, E. F. Marley, L. P. Dehner

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Deep granuloma annulare (DGA) is one of several lesions of skin and superficial soft tissues whose histologic character is a palisading granuloma with a small central focus of necrosis or necrobiosis. Unlike the other palisading necrobiotic lesions, DGA has a predilection for children in the first 5 to 6 years of life. A painless subcutaneous nodule(s) in the lower anterior tibial region or foot and the scalp, typically in the occiput, was the most common presenting feature in this study of 35 cases. Additional or recurrent lesions were reported in approximately 70% of cases with clinical follow-up. All lesions showed the presence of necrobiosis; however, one of the characteristic features was the multinodular character of the predominantly mononuclear cellular aggregates. The presence of vascular spaces at the periphery of the nodular profiles served as a clue to the diagnosis of DGA. The palisading arrangement of the mononuclear cells was evident only in those foci with central necrobiosis. A histiocytic disorder or fibrohistiocytic process was a common consideration in the differential diagnosis, especially in those cases with less apparent foci of necrosis. Palisading histiocytes with prominent eosinophilic cytoplasm and some nuclear atypism were problematic with regard to possible epithelioid sarcoma. Our study failed to identify any underlying or predisposing factors in the development of DGA. Despite the fact that DGA is a well-documented lesion in children, it occurs sufficiently infrequently that it is often not considered clinically when it presents as a subcutaneous mass or masses in a child. Its recognition by the pathologist is especially important as the occurrence of additional lesions in a high proportion of children can be anticipated without undue concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-308
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric and Developmental Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Granuloma annulare
  • Granulomatous inflammation
  • Necrobiosis
  • Necrotizing granuloma
  • Palisading granuloma
  • Pseudorheumatoid nodule


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