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Enigmatic Kikuchi-Fujimoto Disease
A Comprehensive Review

Xavier Bosch MD, Antonio Guilabert MD, Rosa Miquel MD, Elias Campo MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/YF081L4TKYWVYVPQ 141-152 First published online: 1 July 2004


To determine the clinicopathologic significance of Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease (KFD) and review the literature on this condition, we conducted a MEDLINE search of English-language articles published between 1972 and December 2003.

KFD has a worldwide distribution, and Asiatic people have a higher prevalence. Its pathogenesis remains controversial. Patients are young and seek care because of acute tender, cervical lymphadenopathy and low-grade fever. Histologic findings include paracortical areas of coagulative necrosis with abundant karyorrhectic debris. Karyorrhectic foci consist of various types of histiocytes, plasmacytoid monocytes, immunoblasts, and small and large lymphocytes. There is an abundance of T cells with predominance of CD8+ over CD4+ T cells. Differential diagnosis includes lymphoma, lymphadenitis associated with systemic lupus erythematosus, and even adenocarcinoma. KFD is an uncommon, self-limited, and perhaps underdiagnosed process with an excellent prognosis. Accurate clinicopathologic recognition is crucial, particularly because KFD can be mistaken for malignant lymphoma.

Key Words:
  • Kikuchi
  • Histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis