Pediatric Dermatology

Hodgkin Lymphoma Presenting as Generalized Pruritus in an Adolescent

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Pruritus is a common manifestation of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), and given its high frequency, inclusion of itching as a B symptom of HL has been proposed. We present a 16-year-old adolescent boy with treatment-refractory eczema of 2 years’ duration. Physical examination revealed a thin adolescent boy with widespread excoriations, but no eczematous or primary cutaneous lesions were identifiable. Lymph node examination revealed palpably enlarged nodes in the cervical and supraclavicular regions. Laboratory studies revealed leukocytosis and an elevated lactate dehydrogenase level. Diffuse lymphadenopathy was detected on a chest radiograph, and excisional lymph node biopsy revealed HL (nodular sclerosing subtype). The patient was classified as HL stage IIIB (Ann Arbor staging classification) after further evaluation. Chemotherapy was initiated followed by radiation therapy. The patient’s pruritus markedly improved within 2 cycles of chemotherapy; however, his HL relapsed and additional salvage combination chemotherapy followed by high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant were required. This case underscores the need for a complete history as well as a careful skin and systemic evaluation in patients presenting with long-term pruritus, including children and adolescents.


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