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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dermatology Online Journal

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Dermatology Online Journal is an open-access, refereed publication intended to meet reference and education needs of the international dermatology community since 1995. Dermatology Online Journal is supported by the Department of Dermatology UC Davis, and by the Northern California Veterans Administration.

Volume 24, Issue 7, 2018


Platelet-rich plasma for androgenic alopecia treatment: A comprehensive review

Androgenic alopecia (AGA) is a chronic, progressive condition affecting millions of individuals worldwide. Treatment modalities for AGA are limited and our understanding of the pathophysiology underlying the disease is still developing. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), an autologous collection of concentrated platelets and their respective growth factors, has demonstrated efficacy in limiting AGA. The current understanding of AGA pathogenesis is summarized, including our current understanding regarding androgens, inflammation, and arrector pili muscle loss. Furthermore, the molecular pathways induced by PRP in the context of AGA are discussed to ascertain how PRP can prevent disease progression. Well-designed studies investigating the effect of PRP on AGA patients to provide insight on how PRP should be used to achieve consistent clinical results are also presented. Future investigations should focus on elucidating a unifying theory to connect the currently disparate avenues of AGA pathogenesis. PRP clinical trials should be based on standardized treatment protocols to establish generalizable results.

Complications associated with intimate body piercings

Intimate body piercings involving the nipple and genitalia have increased in prevalence in both men and women. Despite this increase, there is a deficiency in the literature regarding the short and long-term complications of body piercings, including an increased risk of infection, malignancy, and structural damage to the associated tissue. Breast abscesses associated with nipple piercing can be mistaken as inflammatory carcinoma. Male genital piercings have been associated with urethral rupture, paraphimosis, urethral obstruction, scar formation, and squamous cell carcinoma, whereas female genital piercings may lead to a higher risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. There are additional problems related to piercings during pregnancy and thereafter. Nipple piercings can hinder breast feeding by inhibiting the milk letdown reflex, increasing nipple sensitivity, and causing discomfort to the infant. Removal of genital piercings during pregnancy could introduce bacteria into the piercing tract, but retaining the piercings could theoretically hinder childbirth. Prevention of complications is critical. Patients must understand the risks of piercings and disclose relevant medical conditions to the practitioner before the procedure. The piercings should be carried out in a hygienic and sterile manner. Finally, physicians should maintain a non-judgmental attitude to encourage patients to seek medical care for complications.


A cross-sectional study of the distribution of psoriasis subtypes in different ethno-racial groups

Skin of colored patients with psoriasis are more likely to remain undiagnosed and experience a greater impact on quality of life than their white counterparts. A better understanding of the ethno-racial differences in the presentation of psoriasis can help address these disparities. To compare the prevalence of psoriatic subtypes (plaque, guttate, pustular, erythrodermic, palmoplantar, and inverse) and lesion locations in Caucasian, Asian, and Hispanic/Latino patients, we analyzed cross-sectional, patient-reported, physician-reviewed survey data from 882 adult and 16 pediatric psoriasis patients seen at the University of California, San Francisco Department of Dermatology between 2006 and 2016. Multivariate logistic regression was used to compare the prevalence of psoriasis subtypes and lesional distributions amongst the ethno-racial groups. Asians and Hispanics/Latinos had higher odds of having pustular psoriasis compared to Caucasians (OR=4.36 [95%CI: 1.24-17.62], P=0.026; and OR=5.94 [95%CI: 1.03-31.03], P=0.036, respectively). Asians also had a higher frequency of erythrodermic psoriasis (OR=5.56 [95%CI: 1.41-27.17], P=0.018), but a lower frequency of inverse psoriasis compared to Caucasians (OR=0.26 [95%CI: 0.06-0.80], P=0.036). These differences may relate to genetic or environmental factors or access to care. Clinician awareness of ethno-racial differences in psoriasis subtype and lesion location can facilitate earlier diagnosis and therapeutic intervention.

Case Report

Ipilimumab-associated halo-like inflammatory reactions around nevi during therapy for metastatic melanoma

Ipilimumab is an immune-modulating drug that is being used today for various cancers including metastatic malignant melanoma. Owing to its mechanism of action, several adverse events have been reported, including some affecting skin. In this work, we report a novel display of multiple ipilimumab-associated halo lichenoid reactions surrounding benign nevi during treatment of metastatic melanoma. A patient underwent treatment with ipilimumab for treatment of stage IIIC melanoma at our center and was monitored for progress and adverse events throughout treatment. During treatment with ipilimumab, the patient clinically developed multiple halo lichenoid reactions surrounding previously present nevi, which histopathologically showed a lichenoid interface dermatitis associated with the mildly atypical nevi and ill-formed granulomata within the infiltrate. Therefore, ipilimumab may be associated with halo lichenoid reactions surrounding benign nevi and this adverse effect should be added to the various dermatologic reactions that patients can develop while being treated with this agent.


Prescribing trends for biologic drugs among Ohio dermatologists

The role of biologic therapies in the field of dermatology continues to evolve as newer drugs and biosimilars are introduced to the U.S. market. Prescribing patterns and expenditures regarding biologic drugs are not well described. To address this knowledge gap, a retrospective review was conducted using the Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data: Part D Prescriber dataset between January 1st, 2013 and December 31st, 2015. The primary outcome was claims per provider per calendar year. Secondary outcomes included drug cost, shared cost per dermatologist, and practice location. Median claims per provider remained stable between 2013 and 2014 (24 versus 23, respectively; P=0.64). The majority of 2015 claims were for adalimumab (50.1%) and etanercept (41.4%). Total spending from Medicare payment data for biologic drugs prescribed by Ohio dermatologists increased by $3 million during the study period. The Gini coefficient for provider contributions to overall costs was 0.47, indicating moderate inequality among Ohio dermatologists. Spending associated with biologic drugs used for dermatologic indications is increasing in Ohio. As the market changes, providers should be aware of these patterns to better care for patients in need of biologic therapies.

Development of Patient Decision Aids for Plaque Psoriasis and Acne

Introduction: Despite proven benefits in other medical specialties, there is a paucity of patient decision aids (PDAs) in dermatology. The present study developed online PDAs for acne and psoriasis, incorporating iterative patient and physician feedback, in accordance with International Patient Decision Aid Standards (IPDAS). Design and Method: Content was adapted from clinical practice guidelines and primary research and formatted for an 8th grade reading level. Feedback on content and format was obtained through focus groups with 15 psoriasis patients and survey with 34 acne patients. Feedback on presentation and clinical utility of the PDAs was gathered by survey from 51 physicians in Canada and the United States. Each data collection stage informed further development. Results: Demand for decision support, and satisfaction with the PDAs was high among patients. Physicians were approving of content and expressed a strong interest in PDA use. Conclusion: Patients and physicians approve of the PDAs' content, format, and intended use. Online PDAs allow accessibility for patients and may reduce barriers to use for physicians.

Darier Nests or Pautrier microabscesses: highlighting the confusion of a decade

Lucien Marie Pautrier was a skilled dermatologist whose work led to the creation of numerous manuscripts within the field of dermatology. His name, though, most often lends itself to a histopathological finding that was not his own discovery. For years, the origin of the term "pautrier microabscess" was thought to be the result of a misattribution by Louis H. Winer at the 66th annual meeting of the American Dermatological Association in 1946. However, a recently reported citing of the term in a 1932 article has led to speculation that the term could, in fact, have been first coined at a meeting of the New York Society of Dermatology in 1927.

Case Presentation

Brown-gray hyperpigmentation in a photosensitive distribution after levofloxacin exposure

Photosensitive drug reactions resulting in hyperpigmentation occur when there is an accumulation in the skin of melanin, heavy metals, or the drug itself. Herein we describe an immunocompromised orthotopic liver transplant patient with levofloxacin-induced hyperpigmentation with iron deposition. To identify the causal agent, consideration was given to medications the patient had taken long-term, as well as medications introduced more recently before the event. Levofloxacin and posaconzole emerged as the most likely culprit drugs, neither of which have a strong history in the literature of being associated with photosensitive hyperpigmentation. Levofloxacin was determined to be the culprit drug when the hyperpigmentation gradually resolved several weeks after discontinuation of levofloxacin, with continuation of posaconazole and all other long-term medications. This case highlights the challenges in identifying the causal agent in photosensitive drug reactions when patients are taking multiple medications. Key clinical data can be very helpful in making an assessment.

No pain no gain: tender nodules in a competitive bodybuilder

The subculture of bodybuilding is rife with people willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve the perfect physique. One particularly concerning behavior is the injection of site-enhancing-oils (SEO) into lagging muscle groups to achieve instant size and symmetry. The typical SEO is a combination of lidocaine, alcohol, and oil; it is rarely, if ever, administered by a qualified professional. As a result, there are a variety of potential complications that can manifest in the skin and other organ systems. In our case, a 41-year-old former competitive bodybuilder was referred to our clinic for excision of a subcutaneous nodule. The initial histopathology was concerning for lymphoma, but a more thorough history and review of systems were completely negative. The patient underwent a negative systemic lymphoma workup and it was not until we discussed the prospects of radiation and other forms of treatment that he revealed a history of SEO use, as well as other identical nodules on his body. Subsequent excisions revealed a more classic sclerosing lipogranuloma-type reaction pattern. Owing to the taboo nature of SEOs, most patients are reluctant to provide this vital piece of historical information, highlighting the importance of patient rapport and clinical-pathologic correlation in our specialty.

Ocrelizumab-induced psoriasiform dermatitis in a patient with multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that presents with a wide variety of sensory and motor deficiencies. New medications targeting B cells have been approved to treat MS, but the side effect profile has not been widely explored. Herein, we report a case of drug-induced psoriasiform dermatitis following ocrelizumab treatment. Physicians should be cognizant of this possible side effect in patients receiving treatment for MS.

Lichen striatus-like eruption in an adult following hepatitis B vaccination: a case report and review of the literature

Lichen striatus is a rare inflammatory dermatosis that follows the lines of Blaschko. This paper discusses an unusual presentation of lichen striatus following hepatitis B vaccination and reviews the literature of vaccine-induced lichen striatus.

Linear IgA bullous dermatosis associated with ulcerative proctitis: treatment challenge

Linear IgA bullous dermatosis is a rare bullous disease in children and adults that can be associated with autoimmune conditions, malignancies, infections, or medication exposure. The definitive diagnosis relies on the biopsy. A 58-year-old man presented to our clinic with a pruritic vesicular and bullous eruption. Histology showed the classic findings of a subepidermal blister with neutrophilic infiltrate and linear IgA deposition along the dermal-epidermal junction. Upon further evaluation, he was diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis. His therapy was complicated owing to side effects and lack of response to the standard treatment options. Dapsone, a first-line therapy, caused symptomatic methemoglobinemia whereas niacinamide with doxycycline were not effective. He required intravenous and oral steroids to reach improvement followed by transitioning to methotrexate.

Scalp porocarcinoma and lichen planopilaris

Porocarcinoma (PC) is a malignant neoplasm arising from the intraepidermal ductal portion of the sweat gland duct. Lichen planopilaris (LPP) is a not so rare variant of cutaneous lichen planus (LP) with a preferential involvement of hair follicles, consisting of a chronic lymphocytic inflammation, leading to cicatricial alopecia. A 42-year-old woman, recently diagnosed with HIV infection, was referred to our clinic because of an alopecic patch of 6 years' duration. In the upper region of the alopecia a 1.5cm nodule was noticed, which the patient stated had started growing soon after the appearance of the hair loss. Biopsy of the alopecia margin confirmed the diagnosis of LPP, whereas biopsy of the nodule revealed an infiltrating tumor consistent with the diagnosis of PC. We present a scalp PC emerging in a background of LPP in an HIV patient. We do not know the role, if any, HIV infection and LPP played in this particular case. Immunosuppression and HIV have been implicated in the etiology of PC. However, her HIV diagnosis was made after the appearance of the scalp nodule. We did not find any association between LPP and PC in the literature. Even though an association by chance cannot be excluded, this deserves further investigation.

A case of folliculosebaceous cystic hamartoma: a rare and clinically indistinct lesion

We report a case of a slowly growing papule on the nasal bridge of an elderly woman. Histopathological findings revealed a very unusual type of folliculosebaceous cystic hamartoma with a retiform and primitive epithelial proliferation associated with the stromal component. Folliculosebaceous cystic hamartoma is an uncommon lesion that involves a cystically dilated follicle embedded in a stroma of distinct mesenchymal tissue. Because folliculosebaceous cystic hamartoma is a rare and clinically indistinct lesion, clinical photographs of the lesion are not widely available. A recent search on PubMed revealed less than 50 published articles on folliculosebaceous cystic hamartoma; among these manuscripts there was a scarcity of clinical images of the lesion. This disparity is to be expected as the lesion typically has a very indistinct presentation. We thus describe an inconspicuously appearing case of folliculosebaceous cystic hamartoma to bring attention to the indistinct clinical morphology of the lesion and to report a histopathologically uncommon variant.

Photo Vignette

Clear Cell Acanthoma on the Areola

Clear cell acanthoma (CCA) is a rare, benign cutaneous condition most often seen on the lower extremities. Lesions are of variable morphology and have been described as polypoid, pigmented, giant, and cystic lesions. Although no racial or gender predilection has been reported, CCA on the breast is a very rare finding that has been observed mainly in young Korean women. Herein, we describe a case of CCA of the areola in an elderly woman with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Physical exam revealed a pink plaque with central erosions on the left areola. Given the concern for cutaneous metastasis, excisional biopsy was performed, which showed pale glycogenated epithelium consistent with CCA. No evidence of recurrence or new lesions was observed after 6 months of follow-up. Our case exemplifies that clinicians should consider CCA in the differential diagnosis for a new eczematous lesion involving the breast, even in the setting of malignancy.


Dermoscopy findings of a one mm lentigo maligna

A 66-year-old man presented with a grayish 1mm macule on the left cheek. Dermatoscopic examination revealed annular-granular structures partially surrounding a single follicular ostium. Histopathologic examination demonstrated atypical, confluent single melanocytes at the basal layer with nesting, crowding, and upward migration descending along the hair follicle, consistent with the diagnosis of lentigo maligna (LM). This case presents evidence in support of the Schiffner progression model for LMs, starting with asymmetric pigmented follicular openings composed of annular-granular structures, which later coalesce into gray to dark black/brown streaks, and then form pseudo-networks or rhomboidal structures. The finding of annular-granular structures partially surrounding a single hair follicle may be the earliest recognizable dermatoscopic feature of an LM and may help clinicians diagnose facial LMs earlier.

Intraosseous epidermoid cyst of the skull: case study and radiological imaging considerations

We report an atypical case of an epidermoid cyst associated with a skull defect to emphasize the diagnostic utility of bedside ultrasonography for the evaluation of subcutaneous scalp nodules. A 24-year-old woman presented with what appeared to be a benign cyst on the right parietal scalp. The cyst was first noticed one year prior to presentation and caused only mild irritation. Upon excision of the cyst, a notable calvarial defect was found in the frontoparietal bone and surgical excision was suspended. Head and brain imaging was performed confirming the calvarial defect with mild mass effect on the brain. A neurosurgical consultation was obtained, and the patient underwent craniotomy followed by cranioplasty with titanium plate placement. The histological evaluation confirmed the suspicion of an intraosseous epidermoid cyst. We hope to raise awareness of the potential for intraosseous involvement of otherwise routine scalp nodules and emphasize the utility of bedside ultrasonography as a quick, easy, and benign imaging modality to assist in preoperative evaluation.

Botulinum Toxin Type-A as an alternative treatment for gummy smile: a case report.

In some cases of dentofacial deformities such as vertical maxillary excess, administration of botulinum toxin has been used as an effective minimally invasive technique to improve the aesthetic disorder of gummy smile. This article presents a case of a woman with excessive gingival exhibition during the smile related to vertical maxillary excess and hyperactive upper lip elevator muscles. This patient was treated using botulinum toxin type A (BT) to camouflage the deformity and improve her facial aesthetic. This therapeutic option proved to be effective and should be a good alternative for patients.