Skin - Nonmelanocytic tumors
Other tumors of skin
Langerhans cell histiocytosis

Author: Christopher Hale, M.D. (see Authorspage)

Revised: 5 October 2016, last major update September 2012

Copyright: (c) 2003-2016,, Inc.

PubMed search: langerhans cell histiocytosis [title] cutaneous skin

Cite this page: Langerhans cell histiocytosis. website. Accessed October 16th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Solitary or multiple lesions (papules, nodules, plaques) containing Langerhans cells
  • Also called Histiocytosis X
  • Langerhans cells are derived from bone marrow, circulate freely from skin to regional lymph nodes
  • In infants, clinically resembles seborrheic keratosis
  • Interleukin-17 (IL17) from lesional dendritic cells may drive Langerhans cell proliferation (Nat Med 2008;14:81) but data not conclusive (Mol Ther 2011;19:1433)
Case reports
Clinical images
Images hosted on other servers:

Brown lichenoid patches

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Diffuse dermal infiltrate of Langerhans cells (large, ovoid, pale pink cytoplasm, indented bland nuclei) or
  • Clusters of Langerhans cells which resemble granulomas or
  • Dermal infiltrate of cells with more foamy cytoplasm
Microscopic (histologic) images
Images hosted on PathOut server:

Images courtesy of Dr. Mark R. Wick:




Images hosted on other servers:

CD1a, S100

Images contributed by Dr. Asmaa Gaber, Menofiya University, Egypt:


Electron microscopy description
  • Birbeck granules (resemble lollipops) next to nuclear membrane