Limited sinonasal Rosai–Dorfman disease presenting as chronic sinusitis

Lisa M. Rooper, Marissa J. White, Amy S. Duffield, Jeffrey Gagan, Nyall R. London, Elizabeth A. Montgomery, Justin A. Bishop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: The sinonasal tract is a common extranodal site for Rosai–Dorfman disease (RDD). Recently, histiocytes with features of RDD were identified in the clinical setting of chronic sinusitis. This study evaluates whether this phenomenon should be considered part of the RDD spectrum or classified separately as RDD-like histiocytes. Methods and results: We prospectively collected 13 cases showing histological features of RDD in chronic sinusitis patients and identified 14 with similar findings (3.5%) via retrospective review of 403 sinus contents over 2 years. All 27 cases displayed nodular aggregates of eosinophilic histiocytes with intermixed lymphoplasmacytic inflammation, prominent eosinophils and emperipolesis. The histiocytes were positive for S100 protein and cyclin D1 and negative for CD1a and CD207. All patients presented with severe chronic sinusitis without tumour formation or systemic symptoms. Twelve patients with follow-up (55%) required repeat sinus surgery compared with just 43 other sinusitis patients evaluated (11%); features of RDD were present in their additional specimens. Two cases that underwent targeted next-generation sequencing (20%) had oncogenic mutations in NF1 and KEAP1. Conclusions: Overall, these findings confirm diagnostic histological and immunohistochemical features of RDD in a subset of chronic sinusitis specimens. While patients uniformly lack systemic involvement or tumefactive growth, they have a high risk of recurrent sinus disease. Although the relatively subtle nature of the findings raises consideration of separate classification, the presence of occasional oncogenic mutations and evidence of consistent MAPK/ERK pathway activation via cyclin D1 positivity suggests that this phenomenon represents a unique limited manifestation of RDD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-107
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Rosai–Dorfman disease
  • chronic sinusitis
  • immunohistochemistry
  • molecular diagnostics
  • sinus histiocytosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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