ABSTRACT Purpose: To report a case of atypical Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease (KFD) that illustrates several overlapping features with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods: A case is reported followed by a review of the current literature. Case report: A 16-year-old boy with an unusual manifestation of Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease (KFD) is described. The patient presented with fever, weight loss and severe abdominal pain, due to extensive necrotizing retroperitoneal and mesenteric lymphadenopathy. During the course of his illness, he developed several symptoms suggestive of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): a pericardial effusion, cotton wool spots on the retina and antibodies against nuclear antigens (ANA), Smith (Sm) and ribonucleoprotein (RNP) antigens. However, no additional features of SLE were found. The patient subsequently fully recovered within two months, without initiation of immunosuppressive therapy. His autoantibodies became negative five months after initial presentation and he remains well at his 23 month follow up visit. Discussion: We hypothesize that the autoantibodies developed by our patient were secondary to self-antigen induced autoimmunity related to his extensive tissue necrosis. Despite initially having clinical features suggestive of SLE, our patient’s full and spontaneous recovery strongly supports the diagnosis of KFD. This illustrates the need for careful diagnosis, in order to avoid unnecessary and potentially toxic treatment with immunosuppressive agents.
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