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Head and Neck Pathology

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DOI: 10.1007/s12105-019-01056-8


Rosai-Dorfman disease (RDD) is a benign, self-limiting histiocytosis of unknown etiology. The classic form of the condition includes a painless cervical lymphaenopathy [sic] accompanied by fever, weight loss and an elevated ESR. Extra nodal RDD (ENRDD) is most frequent in the head and neck. Thirty-eight cases of ENRDD have been described. Seven cases of ENRDD were identified in our pathology biopsy services. The demographic and clinical information was tabulated logically on the basis of age, gender, location and presence or absence of symptoms, treatment and follow-up. Radiographic and histopathological features were also examined. The findings in these cases were correlated with those available from the previously reported cases. Six cases affected women and one case was diagnosed in a male. The age ranged from 22–55 years. Three cases presented as a nasal mass. One of these lesions extended into the paranasal sinuses. One case was located in the maxilla and extended to involve the maxillary sinus. Three cases were diagnosed in the mandible. The maxillary and one mandibular lesion (Case 2) resulted in significant painful irregular bone destruction with a non-healing socket and tooth mobility respectively. One mandibular lesion was asymptomatic (Case 6). The third case affecting the mandible presented as a rapidly expansile mass following a tooth extraction (Case 7). Nasal masses presented with symptoms of obstruction. Nasal masses were excised with no recurrence from up to 2–3 years of follow-up. The mandibular lesions were curetted aggressively. The oral mass in Case 7 was excised synchronously. No recurrence up to 2 years was recorded in Case 2. Follow-up information is not available for Cases 6 and 7. The maxillary lesion was not intervened surgically. The patient has persistent but stable disease for a follow-up period of 2 years. ENRDD is rarely considered in the differential diagnosis in the absence of lymph node involvement. Lesions of ENRDD resemble many other histiocytic and histiocyte-rich lesions of the head and neck. This makes the diagnosis of ENRDD challenging with the potential for under diagnosis or misdiagnosis and delay in treatment.


Accepted version. Head and Neck Pathology, Vol. 14, No. 2 (June 2020): 442-453. DOI. © 2020 Springer. Used with permission.

Yeshwant B. Rawal was affiliated with University of Washington at the time of publication.

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