Skin - Nonmelanocytic tumors
Lymphoma and related disorders

Author: Christopher Hale, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 11 October 2016, last major update June 2012

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

PubMed search: Leukemia [title] skin

Cite this page: Leukemia. website. Accessed October 17th, 2018.
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
Images hosted on PathOut server:

Courtesy of Dr. Mark R. Wick:

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
Images hosted on PathOut server:






Courtesy of Dr. Mark R. Wick:

Myeloid type, granulocytic sarcoma

Myeloid type




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