Primary Histiocytic Sarcoma of the Spleen Associated with Erythrophagocytic Histiocytosis

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We report an exceptional case of a histiocytic sarcoma presenting as a primary isolated spleen tumor in a 71-year-old woman. The neoplastic cells in the cords and sinuses of the red pulp formed multiple lobulated tumors, which were detected in vivo by ultrasound scan. The medium cells, large cells and the giant cells expressed CD68, a histiocyte-associated marker, lysozyme and S100 protein. All these cells were negative for B- and T-cell markers, cytokeratins, melanosome markers (HMB45) and CD1a (Langerhans' cells). Many tumor cells displayed strong erythrophagocytosis and sometimes lymphocytophagocytosis. In addition, numerous histiocytes with morphology indistinguishable from reactive macrophages also exhibited a strong erythro-phagocytosis, and were found in the tumor as well as in the normal splenic parenchyma. Despite multi-agent chemotherapy, the patient suffered from a relapse in the liver, with a rapid fatal outcome. A literature review showed that such a primary splenic presentation with multiple tumors is rare. In contrast, in systemic malignant histiocytosis, secondary spleen involvement occurs more frequently but with diffuse infiltration. The association with a reactive histiocytosis with erythrophagocytosis corresponds to “histiocytic medullary reticulosis”, as previously described by Scott and Robb-Smith.

Keywords: Erythrophagocytic histiocytosis; Histiocytic sarcoma; Malignant histiocytosis; Primary splenic sarcoma

Document Type: Miscellaneous


Affiliations: 1: Service central “Jacques-Delarue” d'Anatomie et de Cytologie Pathologiques, Hôtel Dieu, Paris, France 2: Histopatologia, British Hospital, Montevideo, Uruguay

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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