Acute graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) typically requires high-dose systemic steroids as first-line treatment. Like drug eruptions, viral exanthema, and toxic erythema of chemotherapy, Demodex folliculitis is a clinical mimicker of acute GVHD and requires nonimmunosuppressive therapy. This case of Demodex folliculitis mimicking acute GVHD highlights the need for skin biopsy in patients who have undergone a stem cell transplant with eruptions on the head and neck.
A 46-year-old white woman with a history of Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 acute myeloid leukemia presented to the dermatology clinic with a 5-day history of a nonpruritic eruption on her face and neck 28 days after undergoing a double umbilical cord blood hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). Findings from the skin biopsy demonstrated a deep dermal lymphocytic infiltrate adjacent to follicular units along with an abundance of Demodex mites noted within the hair follicles consistent with Demodex folliculitis. Oral ivermectin, 12 mg, was given, and the eruption cleared within 24 hours.
Conclusions and Relevance
To our knowledge, this is only the fifth reported case of Demodex folliculitis following HSCT, but the first ever reported to be successfully treated with oral ivermectin. Demodex folliculitis should be added to the differential diagnosis of skin eruptions that arise after HSCT.