CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Avicenna J Med 2020; 10(02): 83-88
DOI: 10.4103/ajm.ajm_177_19
Case Report

Xanthoma disseminatum with extensive respiratory involvement effectively treated with cladribine: a case report

Heba Al-Tarcheh
Department of pulmonary medicine, Al Assad University Hospital, Damascus, Syria
Shahed Tish
Department of General Surgery, Washington University in Saint Louis, Saint Louis, Missouri
Rose Ella Burkhardt Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
Salloum Salloum
Department of pulmonary medicine, Al Assad University Hospital, Damascus, Syria
Ahed Haj Ibrahim
Department of pulmonary medicine, Al Assad University Hospital, Damascus, Syria
› Author Affiliations

Subject Editor: Financial support and sponsorship Nil.


Xanthoma disseminatum (XD) is a rare and benign proliferative systemic disease that usually affects the skin and mucosal membranes with variable extent. Extensive systemic involvement can be associated with higher morbidity. There is paucity in the literature describing this rare pathological entity, and the ideal management remains controversial. In this article, we report our experience with cladribine in treating a case of XD. We documented the clinical and pathological manifestations of a 24-year-old woman who was initially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She presented to our institute with respiratory compromise and was found to have XD affecting skin, mucosal membranes, joints, and bone marrow. The patient received six cycles of cladribine for 6 months, during which she showed a remarkable response in relation to the respiratory lesions. Her hemoglobin also normalized and inflammatory markers gradually decreased to reach normal values. However, her skin lesions did not respond to treatment but no new lesions appeared. With our experience with cladribine, we believe that it could be a promising treatment option for XD. However, more work has to be conducted to determine the efficacy and safety in the long term.

Key message: Given the rarity of this understudied entity, the natural history and the ultimate treatment remain unclear. We highlight the natural history and clinical course of xanthoma disseminatum (XD) in this article. We also describe our experience with cladribine in treating XD. We believe that similar experiences should be compiled to better understand this pathology and the effective therapy options for these patients.

Publication History

Article published online:
04 August 2021

© 2020. Syrian American Medical Society. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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