Skin nonmelanocytic tumor
Lymphoma and related disorders - other
Leukemia cutis

Topic Completed: 1 June 2012

Revised: 12 April 2019

Copyright: 2003-2019,, Inc.

PubMed search: Leukemia [title] skin

Christopher S. Hale, M.D.
Page views in 2018: 1,584
Page views in 2019 to date: 1,188
Cite this page: Hale CS. Leukemia cutis. website. Accessed July 22nd, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Skin involvement ("leukemia cutis") occurs in 5% with CML, 8% with CLL, 10% with monocytic leukemia
  • Myeloid leukemia with monocytic differentiation more commonly involves the skin than other types of myeloid leukemia
  • Usually is abnormal peripheral blood count at diagnosis
  • Skin involvement is rarely initial manifestation of recurrence (Am J Clin Pathol 2008;129:130)
  • May also have accompanying vasculitis (Am J Clin Pathol 1997;107:637)
  • Aggressive behavior and short survival (J Am Acad Dermatol 1999;40:966)
Case reports
  • Systemic chemotherapy directed at eradicating the leukemic clone
Clinical images

Contributed by Mark R. Wick, M.D.

Chronic lymphocytic type

Myeloid type

Gross description
  • Multiple nodules / papules
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • In CLL, may be perivascular, periadnexal, nodular or band-like dermal infiltrate
  • Infiltrate in leukemic patients is often NOT neoplastic, but reactive
  • AML: dermis and superficial subcutaneous fat are diffusely infiltrated by a monotonous population of large cells with a high nuclear to cytoplasmic ratio, round to slightly irregular nuclear contours, finely dispersed chromatin and prominent nucleoli
Microscopic (histologic) images

Case of the Week #140






Contributed by Mark R. Wick, M.D.

Myeloid type, granulocytic sarcoma

Myeloid type




Positive stains
  • Myeloblasts: chloroacetate esterase (Leder stain), myeloperoxidase
Additional references
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