Feline progressive histiocytosis

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48 Scopus citations


Histiocytic proliferative diseases include reactive and neoplastic proliferations of dendritic cells (DC) or macrophages. Various forms of DC proliferations have been documented in humans and dogs; their etiology is largely unknown. With the exception of a few case reports, histiocytic proliferations have not been characterized in cats. This study summarizes clinical, morphologic, and immunophenotypic features of a feline progressive histiocytosis (FPH) in 30 cats. There was no breed or age predilection. Females were more often affected than males. Solitary or multiple nonpruritic firm papules, nodules, and plaques had a predilection for feet, legs, and face. Lesions consisted of poorly circumscribed epitheliotropic (13/30) and nonepitheliotropic (17/30) histiocytic infiltrates of the superficial and deep dermis, with variable extension into the subcutis. The histiocytic population was relatively monomorphous early in the clinical course. With disease progression, cellular pleomorphism was more frequently encountered. Histiocytes expressed CD1a, CD1c, CD18, and major histocompatibility complex class II molecules. This immunophenotype suggests a DC origin of these lesions. Coexpression of E-cadherin, a feature of cutaneous Langerhans cells, was only observed in 3 cats. FPH followed a progressive clinical course; the lesions, however, were limited to the skin for an extended period of time. Terminal involvement of internal organs was documented in 7 cases. Treatment with chemotherapeutics or immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory drugs was not successful. The etiology of FPH remains unknown. FPH is best considered an initially indolent cutaneous neoplasm, which is mostly slowly progressive and may spread beyond the skin in the terminal stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-655
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006


  • Cats
  • CD1
  • Dendritic antigen presenting cells
  • Histiocytes
  • Histiocytosis
  • Histopathology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • MHC II
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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