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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Lymphomatoid papulosis

Other Names for this Disease
  • LyP
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Your Question

I have lymphomatoid papulosis. I would like to know more about its treatment, cause, and if it can become cancerous.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is lymphomatoid papulosis?

Lymphomatoid papulosis is a skin disorder that is characterized by crops of self healing skin lesions that look cancerous under the microscope but are actually benign (non-cancerous). Lesions contain unusual cells that are similar to those found in some lymphomas (cancers of the lymphatic system).[1]
Last updated: 6/19/2012

What causes lymphomatoid papulosis?

The cause of lymphomatoid papulosis is unknown, but it is associated with a proliferation of atypical T-cells. T-cells are specific white blood cells involved in immune responses.[1]
Last updated: 6/19/2012

Who is most commonly affected by lymphomatoid papulosis?

Lymphomatoid papulosis may affect people of all races, sex, and age but is less often seen in people with black skin.[1]
Last updated: 6/19/2012

What are the early signs of lymphomatoid papulosis?

Patients may present with multiple skin papules (raised bumps) that can occur anywhere on the body but most often on the chest, stomach, back, arms, and legs. The papules appear in crops and may be mildly itchy. They may develop into blood or pus-filled blisters that break and form a crusty sore before healing completely. Lesions tend to spontaneously heal with or without scarring within 2-8 weeks of appearing.[1]
Last updated: 6/19/2012

Can lymphomatoid papulosis progress to a cancerous condition?

Although most cases of lymphomatoid papulosis are noncancerous, 10-20% of patients may have an associated lymphoma before, at the same time as, or after the diagnosis of lymphomatoid papulosis. This may be cutaneous T-cell lymphoma or an internal form of the disease.[1]
Last updated: 6/19/2012

How might lymphomatoid papulosis be treated?

Localized mildly itchy skin lesions may be treated with mid- to high-potency topical steroids to hasten healing, or with more aggressive topical therapies (e.g.,phototherapy) to suppress the disease and the possibility of progression to lymphoma. Low-dose weekly methotrexate has been used to suppress the condition with some success, however the treatment effects are not lasting. Oral psoralen plus UVA phototherapy may also effectively treat and suppresses the disease.[2]

A few reports have found that following treatments may also help with disease suppression:[2]
  • Topical carmustine
  • Topical nitrogen mustard
  • Topical MTX
  • Topical imiquimod cream
  • Intralesional interferon
  • Low-dose cyclophosphamide
  • Chlorambucil
  • Medium-dose UVA-1 therapy
  • Excimer laser therapy
  • Dapsone
Last updated: 6/19/2012