The International Journal of Mycobacteriology

: 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 292--294

Sporotrichoid presentation of lupus vulgaris mimicking mycetoma

Soumil Khare, Namrata Chhabra, Satyaki Ganguly, Neel Prabha 
 Department of Dermatology, AIIMS, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr Namrata Chhabra
Department of Dermatology, AIIMS, Raipur, Chhattisgarh


Most common form of cutaneous tuberculosis (TB) is lupus vulgaris (LV). Atypical presentation of LV is rare and may lead to delay in diagnosis and hence increase in morbidity. Here, we report a case of sporotrichoid form of LV in a 38 year old male who presented as cutaneous lesions mimicking mycetoma. High index of clinical suspicion and relevant investigations play a vital role in confirmation of diagnosis wherever atypical form of cutaneous TB is suspected.

How to cite this article:
Khare S, Chhabra N, Ganguly S, Prabha N. Sporotrichoid presentation of lupus vulgaris mimicking mycetoma.Int J Mycobacteriol 2019;8:292-294

How to cite this URL:
Khare S, Chhabra N, Ganguly S, Prabha N. Sporotrichoid presentation of lupus vulgaris mimicking mycetoma. Int J Mycobacteriol [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Jan 30 ];8:292-294
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The most common form of cutaneous tuberculosis (TB) is lupus vulgaris (LV). Various forms described are plaque, ulcerative, hypertrophic, vegetative, papular, and nodular. Atypical presentation of LV is rare and may lead to delay in diagnosis and hence increase in morbidity. We report a case of sporotrichoid form of LV which was initially suspected as mycetoma.

 Case Report

A 38-year-old, otherwise, healthy male presented with large erythematous-indurated lesion of size 15 cm × 20 cm with multiple asymptomatic pus-discharging sinuses over the right gluteal region which has slowly progressed over the past 12 years. The patient had a history of intermittent fever for the past 3 years. There was no history of weight loss or any other systemic complaints. There was no previous history of TB in the patient or family. On examination, in addition to the above-mentioned lesion, he had multiple crusted plaques and atrophic scars along the medical aspect of the right lower leg, right groin area, and over the right buttock above the indurated plaque in a linear fashion [Figure 1]. The superficial veins of the right leg below the indurated plaque were dilated and very prominent [Figure 2]. Based on the history and clinical findings, differential diagnosis of mycetoma and an atypical form of cutaneous TB was made.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

The relevant laboratory investigations include raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate (22 mm/h) and positive Mantoux test (>14 mm). Scanty acid-fast bacilli (AFB) were seen on Ziehl–Neelsen staining from pus discharge, and no fungal elements were seen on KOH from pus discharge. Histopathology from the lesional biopsy showed patchy nodular tuberculoid granulomatous infiltrate [Figure 3], and the staining for AFB in histopathology was negative. Fungal culture and mycobacterial culture from the tissue sample showed no growth. Based on this, a diagnosis of sporotrichoid LV was made, and the patient was started on Category I antitubercular treatment (ATT).{Figure 3}


Cutaneous TB occurs in 1%–2% of TB cases worldwide and is frequently found, especially in developing and tropical countries. It has various clinical manifestations including LV, scrofuloderma, TB verrucosa cutis, orificial TB, tuberculous gumma, tuberculous chancre, and acute cutaneous miliary TB.

LV, the most common variant of cutaneous TB, is chronic and progressive.[1] Erasmus Wilson coined the term “Lupus” to emphasize ulcerating and devouring character of lesions comparing the lesions to the ravages of wolf.[2] It is commonly found in patients who are sensitized to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. LV has five major clinical variations including plaque, hypertrophic or vegetation, tumor-like, papular or nodular, and ulcerative types. Although LV is common, its atypical and protean forms can challenge the diagnostic skills of treating clinician. Unusual variants include the frambesiform, gangrenous, ulcerovegetating, lichen simplex chronicus, myxomatous, and sporotrichoid types.[3] The predilection sites for LV are the face, neck, lower arms, chest, trunk, and leg. The face is the most commonly affected site in LV in Western countries with a frequent affliction of the nose and cheeks. In India, however, lower extremities, especially buttocks, are the most frequently affected site.

Sporotrichoid form of LV is an unusual variant that mimics sporotrichosis, a subcutaneous fungal disease.[4],[5] Bacilli follow the lymphatic channels and during transit provoke cutaneous granulomatous inflammation, resulting in a linear array of papular, nodular, and ulcerative lesions over time. It has been shown that sporotrichoid form is more common in children than in adults.[6],[7] The efficient lymphatic drainage in children and high physical activity that makes them prone to trauma may be responsible for this form. As it is a complex process and takes time, this presentation of LV is rare.[1] Various case reports with atypical presentation of LV are reported in the literature [Table 1].{Table 1}

Various unusual forms of LV are reported in the literature that mimicked other skin diseases, making it difficult to diagnose. Heo et al.[16] described a case of LV which was misdiagnosed as tinea and was treated for 10 years without relief. Saritha et al.[17] described three cases of LV mimicking actinomycosis and mycetoma which were diagnosed by histopathology and lesions resolved completely with ATT. The clinical presentation of our case with indurated lesions presenting in a linear fashion with multiple overlying discharging sinuses corroborates most likely with mycetoma, particularly sporotrichosis. Therefore, it was kept as our first clinical diagnosis; however, the investigations finally lead to the confirmation of LV.


Noduloulcerative lesions with discharging sinuses are an unusual presentation of cutaneous TB. The purpose of presenting this case is to highlight the importance of strong clinical suspicion of cutaneous TB even in an atypical cutaneous manifestation like in this case. High clinical suspicion, histopathology, and response to antitubercular therapy can only establish the diagnosis of cutaneous TB in such mimicking dermatoses.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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