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Sarcoma, Sarcoidosis: the Story behind the Name

  • The prefix comes from Greek:
    • σαρξ = sarx = flesh



  • The word “sarcoma” served initially to give a name to tumors which developed from the “conjunctive tissue”
  • Later, the Hungarian-Born Austrian dermatologist Dr Moriz Kaposi (1837-1902) transformed the word sarcoma into sarcoidosis to designate still badly-defined cutaneous diseases. (Unrelated, his name was heard again in the 20th century when HIV infection became linked with”hemorrhagic idiopathic and multiple sarcoma of Kaposi” (which he had described in 1872)
  • But sarcoidosis as we know it was identified by the British physician (and sometimes dermatologist) Dr Jonathan Hutchinson (1828-1939); at that time it was still known under another name.
  • The French dermatologist Dr Ernest Besnier (1831-1909), described “typical symmetrical skin lesions”.
  • The FINAL RECOGNITION that sarcoidosis is a systemic disease which affects multiple organ came from Scandinavian dermatologists:
    • 3 from Sweden: Dr Caesar Boeck, Dr Jörgen Schaumann and Dr Sven Löfgren
    • 1 from Denmark: Dr Christian Heerfordt
    • Today, the name is still also called Besnier-Boeck-Schaumann’s disease.



Source of information:

-Harms M. Dermatologica Helvetica (The Swiss Journal of Dermatology and Venereology:

Original article: here