Cellular variant of kaposiform lymphangiomatosis: a report of three cases, expanding the morphologic and molecular genetic spectrum of this rare entity

Wendy Allen-Rhoades, Alyaa Al-Ibraheemi, Mira Kohorst, Megha Tollefson, Nathan Hull, Stephanie Polites, Andrew L. Folpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kaposiform lymphangiomatosis (KLA) is a very rare form of generalized lymphatic anomaly, consisting of a diffuse proliferation of abnormal, dilated lymphatics, and small fascicles of hemosiderin-laden spindled lymphatic endothelial cells. KLA occurs in children and young adults and may present with multicentric disease, pleural and pericardial effusions, and life-threatening coagulopathy. Genetically, KLA most often harbors somatic activating mutations in NRAS. We recently encountered 3 cases of KLA with cellular features, resembling kaposiform hemangioendothelioma (KHE), and studied their clinicopathologic, radiologic, and molecular genetic features. The patients (1 male, 2 females; aged 2 years, 2 months, 4 years) presented with multicentric disease involving skin, soft tissue, bone, and spleen and thrombocytopenia/coagulopathy. Advanced imaging studies confirmed multicentric disease. Biopsies (skin, soft tissue, bone, and spleen) demonstrated both conventional KLA and much more cellular foci, consisting of sheets, nodules, glomeruloid structures, and sieve-like arrays of lymphatic endothelial cells (positive for CD31 and D2-40). Cellular areas superficially resembled KHE but displayed more epithelioid cytology and lacked surrounding hyaline fibrosis and minute platelet aggregates. Molecular genetic studies demonstrated NRAS c.181C > A p.Q61K (Gln61Lys) in 2 specimens from one patient and HRAS p.A59_Q61delinsGGSIL in another. Two patients were treated with sirolimus; all are currently alive with stable disease. We conclude that cellular morphology in KLA, a previously undescribed feature, does not appear to be associated with clinical features, site of disease, mutation type, response to sirolimus, or outcome. Although cellular KLA may mimic KHE, there are sufficient clinical, morphologic, and genetic differences such that these are likely unrelated diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-81
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Pathology
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma
  • Kaposiform lymphangiomatosis
  • Lymphatic anomalies
  • Pediatric neoplasms
  • Vascular tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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