Indian Journal of Dermatology
  Publication of IADVL, WB
  Official organ of AADV
Indexed with Science Citation Index (E) , Web of Science and PubMed
Users online: 6139  
Home About  Editorial Board  Current Issue Archives Online Early Coming Soon Guidelines Subscriptions  e-Alerts    Login  
    Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page

Table of Contents 
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 107-109
Hypereosinophilic syndrome: Cutaneous involvement as the sole manifestation

Department of Dermatology, Madras Medical college, Chennai - 600 003, India

Date of Web Publication10-Mar-2011

Correspondence Address:
Vidya lakshmi Sundaramurthi
15/85 A, Pidamaneri road, Dharmapuri - 636 701, Tamilnadu
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.77570

Rights and Permissions


Hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) encompasses a group of leukoproliferative disorders with variable involvement of the internal organs. More than half of all patients have cutaneous involvement. In a minority of the reported cases, skin involvement has been the only manifestation of HES . We report one such rare case of HES, with cutaneous involvement as the sole manifestation.

Keywords: Cutaneous involvement, hypereosinophilic syndrome, steroids

How to cite this article:
Sundaramurthi Vl, Prabhavathy D, Somasundaram S V, Wahab AJ. Hypereosinophilic syndrome: Cutaneous involvement as the sole manifestation. Indian J Dermatol 2011;56:107-9

How to cite this URL:
Sundaramurthi Vl, Prabhavathy D, Somasundaram S V, Wahab AJ. Hypereosinophilic syndrome: Cutaneous involvement as the sole manifestation. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Dec 10];56:107-9. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) is a rare disorder. The reported cases have usually been associated with systemic involvement. We report our first case of HES with only cutaneous lesions.

   Case Report Top

A 33-year-old female presented with itchy skin lesions of 8 years' duration. The lesions had initially been restricted to the exposed extremities but later became generalized. There was history of complete gestational remission and postpartal exacerbation.

Histopathological examination done 2 years earlier from a papule on the back had revealed upper dermal noncaseating epitheloid granuloma with Langhans giant cell and lymphocytes. A tentative diagnosis of sarcoidosis was made. Angiotensin-converting enzyme level was normal. Her complete blood count (CBC) showed eosinophilia; the absolute eosinophil count had gradually increased from 2725 cells/mm 3 to 6000 cells/mm 3 over 2 years.

At presentation, the patient showed generalized thickening of the skin with multiple skin-colored to erythematous papules and plaques [Figure 1], an atrophic plaque over the right cheek, infiltration of ear pinna [Figure 2], angioedema of the dorsum of the hands, and lichenification of the dorsal aspects of the hands and feet.
Figure 1: Multiple skin-colored/erythematous papules and plaques

Click here to view
Figure 2: Infiltration of ear pinna

Click here to view

Repeat biopsy from a papule revealed nonspecific upper dermal mixed cell granuloma [Figure 3]. The peripheral smear showed eosinophilia. Bone marrow aspiration revealed normal erythropoiesis, adequate megakaryocytes, and normal eosinophil precursors (ruling out clonal proliferation of eosinophils); there were no atypical cells. Investigations, including motion for ova and cyst and special staining for fungus, were negative. Her IgE level was 80 IU (normal 0-100 IU) and the IgG level was 1487 ng/dl (normal 700-1600 ng/dl). The lymphocyte count was 1244 cells/mm 3 . Antinuclear antibody and rheumatoid factor were negative. Endocrine evaluation was within normal limits. ECG and ECHO were normal. The patient refused to undergo endomyocardial biopsy. CT chest was normal.
Figure 3: Upper dermal mixed cell granuloma (H&E stain, 100×)

Click here to view

Finally, after ruling out reactive causes of eosinophilia and clonal proliferation of cells, we arrived at the diagnosis of HES with cutaneous involvement as the sole manifestation. The patient was started on steroids, with resolution of skin lesions within a week and concomitant decrease in the AEC.

   Discussion Top

HES is a group of leukoproliferative disorder in which more than half of all patients have cutaneous involvement. In a minority of reports, skin involvement is the only manifestation of HES. [1]

HES encompasses a group of leukoproliferative disorders sharing three features; these are: [2]

  1. Sustained eosinophilia, i.e., AEC>1500 cells/mm 3 , persisting for more than 6 months
  2. Absence of other causes of eosinophilia
  3. Signs and symptoms of organ involvement

The eosinophilia is hypothesized to be due to the involvement of myeloid cells, with interstitial chromosomal deletion on band 4q12 leading to the creation of a FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion gene. Also hypothesized is an increase in IL-5 produced by clonally expanded T cell population. [3]

Multiple organs are infiltrated with eosinophils, where they inflict tissue damage through the release of granule proteins, including eosinophil peroxidase, major basic protein, eosinophil-derived neurotoxin, and eosinophil cationic protein.

HES is a multisystem disease with involvement of various organs [Table 1]. Major symptoms are fatigue, myalgia, cough, breathlessness, sweating, and pruritus. [4]
Table 1: Systemic involvement

Click here to view

Mucocutaneous manifestations include the following:

Common manifestations

  • Pruritus
  • Urticaria
  • Dermatographism
  • Angioedema
  • Erythematous papules, plaques, and nodules
  • Nonspecific rash

Uncommon manifestations

  • Aquagenic pruritus [5]
  • Splinter hemorrhages
  • Palpable purpura
  • Livedoid discoloration
  • Wells syndrome [6]
  • Erythroderma
  • Eosinophilic vasculitis
  • Acral necrosis [7]
  • Petechiae
  • Erythema annulare centrifugum
  • Mucosal ulceration and erythema

The diagnosis of HES is made when there is sustained elevation of eosinophils of >1500 cells/mm 3 for more than 6 months, after ruling out other causes of reactive eosinophilia by histopathological evaluation and imaging studies for internal organ involvement. Corticosteroids were once the initial drug of choice; they produce a reduction of eosinophil count within 48 hours. The latest drug found to be effective is imatinib, [11] a platelet-derived growth factor blocker.

Our patient presented with pruritic skin lesions and persistent eosinophilia (raised AEC). After excluding other causes of reactive eosinophilia, a tentative diagnosis of HES with cutaneous involvement as the sole manifestation was made. [1] The patient was started on steroids, with which she showed remarkable improvement (fall in AEC). HES should be a differential diagnosis for all cases with persistent eosinophilia. A full workup must be done to exclude other causes of reactive eosinophilia and systemic involvement since a failure to diagnose the condition early may lead to irreversible cardiac damage.

   References Top

1.LP May, J Kelly, M Sanchez Hypereosinophilic syndrome with unusual cutaneous manifestations in two men with HIV infection. J Amer Acad derm 1990;23:202-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Chusid MJ, Dale DC, West BC, Wolff SM. The hypereosinophilic syndrome: Analysis of fourteen cases with review of the literature. Medicine (Baltimore) 1975;54:1-27.   Back to cited text no. 2
3.Roufosse FE, Goldman M, Cogan E. Hypereosinophilic syndromes. Orphanet J Rare Dis 2007;2:37.   Back to cited text no. 3
4.Fauci AS, Harley JB, Roberts WC, Ferrans VJ, Gralnick HR, Bjornson BH. NIH conference. The idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. Clinical, pathophysiologic, and therapeutic considerations. Ann Intern Med 1982;97:78-92.   Back to cited text no. 4
5.Newton JA, Singh AK, Greaves MW, Spry CJ. Aquagenic pruritus associated with the idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. Br J Dermatol 1990;122:103-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Bogenrieder T, Griese DP, Schiffner R, Büttner R, Riegger GA, Hohenleutner U, et al. Wells' syndrome associated with idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. Br J Dermatol 1997;137:978-82.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Takekawa M, Imai K, Adachi M, Aoki S, Maeda K, Hinoda Y, et al. Hypereosinophilic syndrome accompanied with necrosis of finger tips. Intern Med 1992;31:1262-6.   Back to cited text no. 7
8.Brockington IF, Olsen EG. Loffler's endocarditis and Davies endomyocardial fibrosis. Am Heart J 1973;85:308.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Moore PM, Harley JB, Fauci AS. Neurologic dysfunction in the idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. Ann Intern Med 1985;102:109-14.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Flaum MA, Schooley RT, Fauci AS, Gralnick HR. A clinicopathologic correlation of the idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. I. Hematologic manifestations. Blood 1981;58:1012-20.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Scheinfeld N. A comprehensive review of imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) for dermatological diseases. J Drugs Dermatol 2006;5:117-22.  Back to cited text no. 11


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1]

This article has been cited by
1 Eosinophilic Dermatoses: Recognition and Management
Angelo Valerio Marzano, Giovanni Genovese
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2020; 21(4): 525
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Characterization of Löeffler Eosinophilic Myocarditis by Means of Real Time Three-Dimensional Contrast-Enhanced Echocardiography
Maria Riccarda Del Bene,Francesco Cappelli,Luigi Rega,Francesco Venditti,Giuseppe Barletta
Echocardiography. 2012; 29(3): E62
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 New emerging diseases or syndromes in dermatopathology with impact on clinical management
Elisa Cinotti,Franco Rongioletti
Expert Review of Dermatology. 2012; 7(1): 69
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article
    Similar in PUBMED
 Related articles
    Article in PDF (1,205 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Case Report
    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded122    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 3    

Recommend this journal