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Rapidly Growing Retroauricular Tumor

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A 72-year-old man with a history of hypertension presented with a rapidly growing left retroauricular tumor of 3 months' duration. When manipulated, whitish material with a foul-smelling odor was expressed from the lesion. Physical examination showed an erythematous 3.2 ×1-cm tumor on the left posterior ear with multiple 1- to 2-mm white-yellow papules on its surface. A biopsy of the lesion was performed.

What's the diagnosis? 

acneform reaction

adnexal tumor

milia en plaque

nevus comedonicus

postinflammatory milia

The Diagnosis: Milia En Plaque

Biopsy results revealed a normal epidermis; the dermis showed multiple small cystic structures lined by a stratified squamous epithelium containing eosinophilic keratin surrounded by a mononuclear cell infiltrate and some melanophages (Figure).

Histopathology revealed a normal epidermis; the dermis showed multiple small cystic structures lined by a stratified squamous epithelium containing eosinophilic keratin surrounded by a mononuclear cell infiltrate and some melanophages (H&E, original magnification ×40).

Milia en plaque was first described in 1903 by Balzer and Fouquet.1 In 1978, Hubler et al2 presented 2 cases with an asymptomatic, erythematous, and edematous plaque and white milialike lesions. On histopathology, they showed multiple cystic structures characterized by central laminated keratin and an intense polymorphic inflammatory reaction surrounding the cyst and epidermal appendages. Both patients were treated with topical tretinoin with complete response at 3 months. The authors suggested the term milia en plaque to describe this clinical entity.2

Milia en plaque is described as an infrequent condition that more often presents on the head, neck, and trunk, as well as the periocular, periauricular, and perinasal areas. It has been reported to occur at any age3 but appears more frequently in middle-aged adults and females. A congenital case also has been reported.4 It has been associated with pseudoxanthoma elasticum, lichen planus, trauma, kidney transplant, and cyclosporine use, but it also can present in healthy individuals,3 as in our patient. No clear cause has been identified.

Pathology is characteristic, with multiple cysts filled with keratin and surrounded by 2 or 3 layers of epithelial cells, associated with a mononuclear, nonlichenoid, mononuclear infiltrate.5 Structures similar to follicular infundibular tumors have been described, suggesting a common origin of follicular lesions as milia en plaque.6

Treatment includes surgical excision, cryosurgery, dermabrasion, electrodesiccation, trichloroacetic acid, photodynamic therapy, CO2 and erbium lasers, topical retinoids, minocycline, and etretinate.7 We performed a complete surgical excision in our patient.

In acneform reactions, erythematous papules and pustules can be found on the cheeks and forehead. Nevus comedonicus appears during childhood and presents with multiple open comedones. Postinflammatory milia is present in chronic inflammatory pathologies such as porphyria cutanea tarda. Histopathologic findings in adnexal tumors show a benign proliferation of any cellular type of a cutaneous annex.

Milia en plaque is an unusual but benign condition that is distinguished clinically by its characteristic presentation.

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Ill-Defined Macule on the Abdomen

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