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Mantle cell lymphoma presenting with exaggerated skin reaction to insect bites


We present the case of a 62-year-old African-American woman with medical history of hypertension and hyperlipidaemia who presented to dermatology clinic for ‘bug bites’. Skin examination showed resolving bullae on the shins and postinflammatory pigment changes. Histopathology showed eosinophilic spongiosis and direct immunofluorescence (DIF) was negative for IgG, IgM, IgA and C3. After returning to clinic with recurrent severe bullous eruptions, the patient presented with anaemia, lymphocytosis, posterior cervical lymphadenopathy and weight loss. An exuberant bite reaction in the setting of lymphoma was suspected. Further workup with haematology revealed elevated IgG level and total protein levels. Flow cytometry showed a B cell lymphoma subtype. Extensive imaging was positive for diffuse lymphadenopathy, with accompanying evidence of Ebstein-Barr virus infection. Our case highlights the importance of considering exuberant arthropod bite reaction in the setting of undiagnosed lymphoma in a patient with bullous eruption and negative DIF.

  • dermatology
  • haematology (drugs and medicines)
  • skin
  • haematology (incl blood transfusion)
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