[Acquired cutis laxa and myeloma: large vacuolated cells in the dermis].Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2007 Jun-Jul; 134(6-7):548-51.AD
Cutis laxa is a rare disorder characterized by loss of elastic tissue. Several organs are often involved such as the skin, lungs, heart, digestive system or genitourinary tract. It may be inherited or acquired, generalized or localized. Its pathogenesis is unclear. Association of acquired cutis laxa with myeloma or plasma cell dyscrasia is very rare. We report a case of acquired cutis laxa associated with a myeloma.
A 59 year-old woman was admitted for skin hyperlaxity present for a number of years. Light microscopic examination of a skin sample revealed fragmented elastic fibers. Electron microscopic examination of the elastic network demonstrated numerous large vacuolated cells with the appearance of macrophages around abnormal elastic and collagen fibers of the reticular dermis. In addition, a stage-1 IgG lambda myeloma was detected. The patient was treated by thalidomide for one year. After this treatment, electron microscopy examination did not reveal any large vacuolated cells in the dermis, and elastic and collagen fibers were not modified and skin laxity seemed to be stabilized.
Acquired cutis laxa may be associated with many systemic diseases or can appear after inflammatory skin diseases. Seven cases of generalized cutis laxa associated with myeloma and four cases associated with plasma cell dyscrasia have been reported in the literature. In our case, as in 2 previously described cases, large vacuolated cells resembling macrophages were seen in the dermis. They were thought to play a role in cutis laxa.