In a retrospective study of 137 biopsy specimens of skin from 137 patients (69 men and 68 women) that had been obtained between 1972 and 1989 at our institution and that had perivascular and periappendageal lymphocytic infiltrates characteristic of those described as benign lymphocytic infiltrate (BLI), we determined the specificity of the histologic diagnosis and the correlation with clinical data. The final diagnoses, based on clinical and laboratory data and histologic findings, were BLI (59), possible BLI (7), lupus erythematosus (LE) (12), possible LE (7), procainamide-induced LE (1), insect bites (9), possible insect bites (3), polymorphous light eruption (4), lymphocytoma (4), urticaria (4), and indeterminate or miscellaneous diagnoses (27). BLI is a clinical and histologic syndrome that can be heterogeneous in origin. We recommend careful evaluation to exclude other disorders such as LE, polymorphous light eruption, lymphocytoma, and insect bites. Direct immunofluorescence microscopy and immunophenotypic studies may help distinguish BLI from LE.
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