Histopathological analysis and clinical correlation of drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS)

M. H. Chi, R. C.Y. Hui, C. H. Yang, J. Y. Lin, Y. T. Lin, H. C. Ho, W. H. Chung*, T. T. Kuo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) is a severe cutaneous adverse drug reaction. However, its histopathological features have not been well defined. Objectives To identify the clinicohistopathological findings of DRESS, and analyse the cutaneous histopathological changes observed in DRESS compared with those observed in maculopapular exanthema (MPE). Methods In a retrospective study, conducted at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (Taiwan) between 2001 and 2011, we compared the clinicohistopathological features of 32 patients with probable/definite DRESS (defined by the RegiSCAR scoring system) with those of 17 patients with MPE. Results The major pathological changes observed in patients with DRESS included dyskeratosis (97%), epidermal spongiosis (78%), interface vacuolization (91%), perivascular lymphocytic infiltration (97%) and eosinophilic infiltration (72%). Many pathological features were common to both MPE and DRESS. However, severe dyskeratosis, epidermal spongiosis and severe interface vacuolization were significantly more prominent in cases of DRESS (P < 0·05). The presence of severe dyskeratosis was significantly associated with the clinical severity of renal impairment (P = 0·01). Conclusions The severe dyskeratosis detected in patients with DRESS may correlate with a greater extent of systemic involvement compared with that noted in MPE. However, the histopathological changes associated with DRESS are not entirely specific. What's already known about this topic? Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) is characterized by severe skin rash, fever, haematological abnormalities and internal organ involvement. What does this study add? On histopathological examination, epidermal spongiosis, severe dyskeratosis and interface vacuolization were more commonly noted in DRESS than in maculopapular exanthema (MPE). Severe dyskeratosis, observed in DRESS, may correlate with a greater extent of systemic involvement compared with that noted in MPE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-873
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Volume170
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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