Indian Journal of Dermatology
  Publication of IADVL, WB
  Official organ of AADV
Indexed with Science Citation Index (E) , Web of Science and PubMed
Users online: 4094  
Home About  Editorial Board  Current Issue Archives Online Early Coming Soon Guidelines Subscriptions  e-Alerts    Login  
    Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page

Year : 2009  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 287-289
Hypertrophic lupus vulgaris : An unusual presentation

1 Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Pt. B.D. Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India
2 Department of Pathology, Pt. B.D. Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India

Date of Web Publication10-Sep-2009

Correspondence Address:
Sarika Jain
C/o Dr. V K Jain, 16/6 J, Medical Campus, Rohtak - 124 001, Haryana
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.55644

Rights and Permissions


Lupus vulgaris is the most common form of cutaneous tuberculosis occurring in previously sensitized individuals with a high degree of tuberculin sensitivity. Various forms including plaque, ulcerative, hypertrophic, vegetative, papular, and nodular forms have been described. A 30-year-old male patient presented with a very large hypertrophic lupus vulgaris lesion over left side of chest since 22 years. Histopathological examination showed granulomatous infiltration without caseation necrosis. The Mantoux reaction was strongly positive. Hypertrophic lupus vulgaris of such a giant size and that too at an unusual site is extremely rare and hence is being reported.

Keywords: Cutaneous tuberculosis, hypertrophic, lupus vulgaris

How to cite this article:
Jain VK, Aggarwal K, Jain S, Singh S. Hypertrophic lupus vulgaris : An unusual presentation. Indian J Dermatol 2009;54:287-9

How to cite this URL:
Jain VK, Aggarwal K, Jain S, Singh S. Hypertrophic lupus vulgaris : An unusual presentation. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2009 [cited 2022 Jan 27];54:287-9. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Cutaneous tuberculosis forms a small proportion of extrapulmonary tuberculosis. [1] Studies from India report an incidence of cutaneous tuberculosis of 0.1%. [2] It takes different clinical forms depending on previous contact and the patient's immune status. It has been shown that lupus vulgaris is the most common form in adults. [2] It is a reinfection tuberculosis of the skin occurring in previously sensitized individuals with a high degree of tuberculin sensitivity and moderate immunity. A typical feature of lupus vulgaris is its extremely chronic course, characterized by slow but steady growth of the lesion over a period of years. Although plaque type is the common type, other variants such as vegetative, ulcerative, hypertrophic papular and nodular forms are also described. Hypertrophic lupus vulgaris has been reported only scarcely in the literature. We, herein report a case of a very large-sized hypertrophic lupus vulgaris present over the chest.

   Case Report Top

A 30-year-old male, with no prior history of tuberculosis, presented with a growth of 22-year duration on the left side of the chest [Figure 1]. The lesion had steadily grown since it first appeared when he was 8-year-old. Similar, though smaller lesions were also present over bilateral mandibular regions, neck, and axilla, which on taking some treatment had resolved about 2 years back leaving behind atrophic scars [Figure 2]. The lesion was asymptomatic apart from discharge of foul smelling seropurulent material. There was no history of apparent trauma or previous history suggestive of tuberculous involvement of any other part of the body. The family history was not significant.

Dermatological examination revealed a solitary, 30 × 25 cm, verrucous, cauliflower-like growth over left side of the chest extending from just below the clavicle to the lower border of the thoracic cage. Surface showed multiple nodular infiltrations, which were covered with thick crusts. Removal of the crusts showed a friable tumor mass, soft in consistency and in the upper part showed multiple digitate projections, which were hard to palpate. Areas of atrophic scarring were present bilaterally symmetrically over mandibular region, neck, and axilla. There was no clinically significant lymphadenopathy. The general condition of the patient was good and no signs of systemic tuberculosis were demonstrated.

Hematological investigations showed anemia, raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate, positive C-reactive protein, and a normal chest X-ray; CECT thorax ruled out any infiltration into underlying musculature, lung fields or mediastinal structures. The Mantoux reaction was 19 × 17mm at 72h. Sputum for acid fast bacilli (AFB) was negative. A Ziehl-Neelsen's stained smear from the lesion was negative, as was also the culture on Lowenstein-Jensen medium after 6 weeks of inoculation. Superficial scrapings from the surface of the lesion were negative for fungus. ELISA for HIV was nonreactive. Histopathological examination of the biopsy specimen revealed changes characterized by epidermal acanthosis, hyperkeratosis, and papillomatosis. The dermis was marked by the presence of epithelioid cell granulomas with conspicuous Langhans type of giant cells, located primarily in the upper dermis. In addition, the dermis also showed infiltration by chronic inflammatory cells, mainly lymphocytes. No caseation necrosis was seen. Ziehl-Neelsen's stain did not reveal any AFB. No fungal cells were seen in the tissue sections [Figure 3].

On the basis of the clinical, laboratory, and histopathological features, the diagnosis of hypertrophic lupus vulgaris was made. Patient was put on four-drug antituberculous therapy (ATT) for 6 months (owing to the large size of the lesion). After completion of therapy, lesion showed healing with atrophy at places [Figure 4].

   Discussion Top

Lupus vulgaris is a postprimary, paucibacillary form of skin tuberculosis arising in previously sensitized individuals with moderate immunity. Lesions arise by either contiguous extension of the disease from the underlying affected tissue or by hematogenous or lymphatic spread. In some instances, lupus appears over a primary inoculation site, but more than half of the cases follow other tuberculous diseases. [2] The face is the most commonly affected site in Western countries with a frequent affliction of the nose and cheeks. In India, however, lower extremities, especially buttocks are most frequently affected. It is characterized by macules or papules, with a brownish-red color and soft consistency that form larger plaques by peripheral enlargement and coalescence. Atrophic scarring, with or without ulceration, is a prominent feature of lupus vulgaris. It has diverse clinical variants such as plaque, hypertrophic (tumor-like), ulcerative, vegetative, papular, and nodular forms. The hypertrophic variety presents either as soft tumorous growths exhibiting a nodular knobby surface or showing epithelial hyperplasia with the production of hyperkeratotic masses. [2] The histopathology is characterized by the formation of tuberculoid granulomas composed of epithelioid cells and giant cells, usually of Langhans type. Caseation necrosis with in the tubercles is slight or absent. There is an associated infiltrate of lymphocytes. Secondary changes in the epidermis are common which becomes hyperplastic and shows acanthosis, hyperkeratosis, and papillomatosis. Tubercle bacilli are generally hard to demonstrate. [3] As lupus vulgaris is a paucibacillary form of cutaneous tuberculosis, demonstration of AFB on the smear prepared from the material from the lesion or culture on Lowenstein-Jensen medium seldom yields positive results. Therefore, microscopic pathology is the mainstay for diagnosis.

After a thorough search of literature, only few case reports of hypertrophic lupus vulgaris were found. [4],[5],[6] However, such a giant-sized lesion and that too at an unusual site is an extreme rarity.

   References Top

1.Yates VM, Rook GA. Mycobacterial infections. In: Burns T, Breathnach S, Cox N, Griffiths C, editors. Rook's Textbook of Dermatology. 7 th ed. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications; 2004. p. 28.1-39.  Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Sehgal VN, Wagh SA. Cutaneous tuberculosis. Int J Dermatol 1990;29:237-52.  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Lucas S. Bacterial diseases. In: Elder DE, Elenitsas R, Johnson BL, Murphy GF, editors. Lever's histopathology of the skin. 9 th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins 2005. p. 551-90.  Back to cited text no. 3      
4.Goicoechea C, Ruiz-Avila P, Soler E, Bustos de Abajo M, Linares J, Abad J, et al . Hypertrophic lupus vulgaris of 67 years duration. Br J Dermatol 1994;131:142-3.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Choi YS, Hann SK, Won JH, Koo SW. A case of hypertrophic lupus vulgaris. Korean J Dermatol 1991;29:419-22.  Back to cited text no. 5      
6.Brauninger W, Bork K, Hoede N. Tumor-like lupus vulgaris. Hautarzt 1981;32:321-3.  Back to cited text no. 6      


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]

This article has been cited by
1 Cutaneous tuberculosis of the pinna
V. Ramesh, Jyoti Gupta
International Journal of Dermatology. 2021; 60(3): 363
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Cutaneous tuberculosis of the pinna: a report of two cases
Sowmya Kaimal,Vijay Aithal,Muthu Sendhil Kumaran,Anil Abraham
International Journal of Dermatology. 2013; 52(6): 714
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Leprosy in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: Rare case report
Sudhakar, R.K.M., Pawale, J., Ankad, B.S., Naidu, V., Kotbagi, H.B.
Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2011; 5(5): 1106-1108


Print this article  Email this article
   Next article
   Previous article 
   Table of Contents
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Article in PDF (708 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Case Report
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded189    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 3    

Recommend this journal