Psoriasis or not? Review of 51 clinically confirmed cases reveals an expanded histopathologic spectrum of psoriasis

Thinh Chau, Kory K. Parsi, Toru Ogawa, Maija Ht Kiuru, Thomas Konia, Chin-Shang Li, Maxwell A Fung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Psoriasis is usually diagnosed clinically, so only non-classic or refractory cases tend to be biopsied. Diagnostic uncertainty persists when dermatopathologists encounter features regarded as non-classic for psoriasis. Objective: Define and document classic and non-classic histologic features in skin biopsies from patients with clinically confirmed psoriasis. Methods: Minimal clinical diagnostic criteria were informally validated and applied to a consecutive series of biopsies histologically consistent with psoriasis. Clinical confirmation required 2 of the following criteria: (1) classic morphology, (2) classic distribution, (3) nail pitting, and (4) family history, with #1 and/or #2 as 1 criterion in every case Results: Fifty-one biopsies from 46 patients were examined. Classic features of psoriasis included hypogranulosis (96%), club-shaped rete ridges (96%), dermal papilla capillary ectasia (90%), Munro microabscess (78%), suprapapillary plate thinning (63%), spongiform pustules (53%), and regular acanthosis (14%). Non-classic features included irregular acanthosis (84%), junctional vacuolar alteration (76%), spongiosis (76%), dermal neutrophils (69%), necrotic keratinocytes (67%), hypergranulosis (65%), neutrophilic spongiosis (61%), dermal eosinophils (49%), compact orthokeratosis (37%), papillary dermal fibrosis (35%), lichenoid infiltrate (25%), plasma cells (16%), and eosinophilic spongiosis (8%). Conclusions: Psoriasis exhibits a broader histopathologic spectrum. The presence of some non-classic features does not necessarily exclude the possibility of psoriasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Cutaneous Pathology
StateAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Dermatopathology
  • Histopathology
  • Inflammatory skin disease
  • Psoriasiform dermatitis
  • Psoriasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Psoriasis or not? Review of 51 clinically confirmed cases reveals an expanded histopathologic spectrum of psoriasis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this