Rosai-Dorfman Disease of Bone and Soft Tissue

Roberto A. Garcia, Edward F. DiCarlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Context.—Rosai-Dorfman disease is a rare histiocytic proliferative disorder of unknown pathogenesis that may be diagnostically difficult in extranodal sites. It is commonly an unsuspected diagnosis when arising in bone and soft tissue, especially when it presents without associated lymphadenopathy. Its variable clinical presentation and nonspecific imaging findings make the diagnosis quite challenging, particularly in small biopsies. The problem is compounded by its less-characteristic histomorphologic features in comparison with nodal disease. Awareness of the potential diagnostic pitfalls in Rosai-Dorfman disease of bone and soft tissue should raise the degree of diagnostic accuracy. Objective.—To review the clinical manifestations, imaging characteristics, and histomorphologic features of Rosai-Dorfman disease of bone and soft tissue along with a brief discussion of its differential diagnosis, pathogenesis, and current management. Data Sources.—Thorough review of the literature with focus on clinical manifestations, imaging findings, key histomorphologic features, pathogenesis, and treatment. Conclusions.—The diagnosis of Rosai-Dorfman disease of bone and soft tissue may be quite challenging because of its variable clinical presentation and nonspecific imaging findings. It may be asymptomatic without systemic manifestations or associated lymphadenopathy. The definitive diagnosis relies on histopathologic identification of the characteristic S-100–positive histiocytes demonstrating emperipolesis. Bone and soft tissue lesions tend to have lower numbers of characteristic histiocytes and less conspicuous emperipolesis and often demonstrate areas of fibrosis or storiform spindle cell areas resembling fibrohistiocytic lesions. Awareness of these unusual features is necessary in order to consider Rosai-Dorfman disease in the differential diagnosis when confronting these rare and often misleading lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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