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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 26, Issue 9, 2020


Physical symptoms and psychosocial problems associated with hidradenitis suppurativa: correlation with Hurley stage

Background: Quality of life (QOL) in hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) patients is negatively impacted by physical and psychosocial problems. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency and severity of HS-specific symptoms and to correlate these with disease severity. Methods We analyzed medical record data from 145 patients seen in an academic HS specialty clinic between August 2009 to March 2018. Results Hurley stage III patients had significantly higher mean Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) scores (20.2) compared to patients with Hurley stage I (11.3) and II (13.9), (P<0.001 and P=0.001, respectively). More than 75% of patients reported physical symptoms of drainage, irritation, pain, itching, bleeding, and odor. There were associated psychosocial problems of embarrassment and self-consciousness. Symptom severity was most strongly correlated with disease severity for odor (correlation coefficient 0.4, P<0.001), difficulty moving arms (0.323, P<0.001), negative impact on job/school (0.303, P<0.001), and negative impact on relationships (0.298, P<0.001). Conclusion Our results highlight the significant burden of HS and the need for a more comprehensive, HS-specific evaluation tool to better assess the QOL of this patient population. Limitations A small cohort in a single academic center.

Advertising techniques increase biologic treatment willingness in patients with psoriasis

Background: Although biologics have revolutionized psoriasis care, some patients may be reluctant to consider implementing biologic therapy. Objective: To determine whether willingness to take a biologic is increased by commonly used advertising techniques. Methods: An online survey was used to assess subjects with a self-reported diagnosis of psoriasis and their willingness to initiate biologic treatment (N=400). Subjects were randomized to receive one of the following surveys: clinical data with positive framing (N=80), bandwagon-based statement (N=80), testimonial-based statement (N=80), comparative advertising (N=80), and negative framing (N=80). Willingness to take treatment was recorded on a 10-point Likert scale and evaluated using one-way ANOVA, two-group t-tests, and chi-squared tests. Results: Compared to subjects presented with positive framing (M=5.5, SD=3.2), subjects presented with a bandwagon-based statement (M=6.5, SD=2.7; P=0.04) and testimonial-based statement (M=7.0, SD=2.7; P=0.01) reported a greater willingness to take treatment, whereas negative framing (M=4.5, SD=3.0; P=0.03) decreased willingness and comparative advertising (M=5.5, SD=2.7; P=0.96) yielded the same willingness as positive framing. Conclusion: Providers might be able to enhance biologic acceptance by utilizing commonly used advertising techniques, such as the bandwagon effect, testimonial effect, and positive framing.


Upcoming topical TRPV1 anti-pruritic compounds

Transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) is found on sensory neurons, keratinocytes, sebocytes, and dendritic cells. Activated TRPV1 channels are believed to help propagate the itch sensation. Therefore, there has been great interest in targeting TRPV1 to treat pruritus. Since oral formulations aimed at TRPV1 have led to adverse effects such as hyperthermia, there has been emphasis on developing novel topical agents. Several companies are investigating topical TRPV1 anti-pruritic compounds and the initial data has been very promising. These drugs have the potential to be important treatment options for the management of itch. This paper reviews topical products in current development for pruritus that target TRPV1 channels.

Case Report

Granuloma annulare-like eruption in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

We report a patient with new-onset ulcerated granuloma annulare with concomitant involvement of B-cell leukemia. A granuloma annulare-like eruption with concomitant B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia involvement in the skin is extremely rare, as only three cases have been previously reported in the literature to our knowledge. Given the rarity of ulceration in conventional granuloma annulare, it is possible this finding may serve as a diagnostic clue for underlying malignancy.

Talaromycosis clinically and histopathologically mimicking histoplasmosis in an immunocompromised patient

Talaromycosis is caused by the dimorphic fungus Talaromyces marneffei (formerly Penicillium marneffei) endemic in South and Southeast Asia. Its clinical similarity with other dimorphic fungal infections (sometimes) make the diagnosis challenging. We report an immunocompromised patient with talaromycosis mimicking histoplamosis. A 26-year-old HIV-positive man had suffered from rashes over the face, trunk, and extremities for three months. His physical examination showed centrally necrotic, ulcerated papules and nodules. A biopsied papule revealed granulomas containing numerous oval, yeast-like cells, some displaying central septation. Saboraud agar culture grew mold with diffuse red pigment consistent with T. marneffei. Careful histopathological examination and microbiological culture are important for the accurate diagnosis of fungal infections.

Case Presentation

Toxic erythema of chemotherapy secondary to gemcitabine and paclitaxel

Toxic erythema of chemotherapy (TEC) is an infrequently reported cutaneous condition, with diagnosis predominately based on clinical presentation, histologic findings, and known reported associations. Therefore, it is important to both recognize common presentations of TEC and be mindful of chemotherapeutic agents associated with this cutaneous side effect to prevent misdiagnosis and prolonged time to treatment. Herein, we present a patient with TEC occurring in intertriginous skin (malignant intertrigo) with classic clinical and histologic findings. In our patient this was associated with a combination neoadjuvant gemcitabine and paclitaxel therapy, a relationship that, to our knowledge, has yet to be reported in the literature.

Annular erythema as a cutaneous sign of recurrent ductal breast carcinoma, misdiagnosed as erythema chronicum migrans

Annular erythema as a clinical manifestation of locoregional recurrence of breast cancer is extremely rare. Only three papers with the description of five cases have been published in the current literature to our knowledge. Herein, we describe two additional cases of annular erythema as a cutaneous sign of recurrent ductal breast carcinoma; both were misdiagnosed as erythema chronicum migrans.

Linezolid as a treatment option for cutaneous non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections

Cutaneous non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections have rapidly increased in incidence in recent years. Currently there is no standard treatment and the variable and nonspecific ways in which cutaneous NTM infection presents makes it a therapeutic and diagnostic challenge. We describe a 67-year-old immunocompetent woman with cutaneous NTM infection after she recently underwent a root canal procedure. Although the species was not identified and she was unable to tolerate multiple antibiotics, she ultimately responded well to three months of treatment with linezolid. Given that cutaneous NTM infection can present in immunocompetent patients and that the incidence is rising, it is important for clinicians to maintain a high index of clinical suspicion, especially in patients with a recent history of surgery, trauma, or cosmetic procedures. Linezolid has coverage against non-tuberculous mycobacteria and is an effective therapeutic option for cutaneous NTM cases in which identification to the species level is not possible or when adverse effects limit therapeutic options.

Lepromatous leprosy presenting with type II reaction before and type I reaction after treatment

Lepromatous leprosy is associated with a high bacillary load and poor cellular immune response. Early dermatologic manifestations include erythematous macules, papules, nodules, and plaques with a symmetrical distribution. Leprosy also shows two major reaction states including type I (reversal reaction) and type II (vasculitis). These reactions are usually seen in some patients who are undergoing treatment. Herein, we report an interesting patient with lepromatous leprosy who presented with skin lesions of type II reaction without receiving any anti-leprosy treatment and surprisingly showed a type I reaction eight months after the beginning of the treatment.

Ulcerated cutaneous Richter syndrome

Richter syndrome or Richter transformation comprises the conversion of chronic lymphocytic leukemia into an aggressive type of large cell lymphoma. Classically, patients have diffuse and abrupt lymphadenopathy and organomegaly, in addition to fever, weight loss, and fatigue. Cutaneous involvement is rare and often nonspecific. We report a patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who presented with a large and rapidly evolving ulcer, revealed to be a high-grade cutaneous lymphoma.

Ulcerative IgA vasculitis in the setting of warfarin therapy

Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) is a small vessel vasculitis characterized by the presence of vascular immunoglobulin A deposition that usually presents as non-thrombocytopenic palpable purpura. It primarily affects children and is less common in adults. The incidence of hemorrhagic necrotic skin lesions increases with age, similarly to renal involvement. Warfarin is a widely used oral anticoagulant drug that has rarely been associated with leukocytoclastic vasculitis and allergic interstitial nephritis. We report a patient with HSP who presented with cutaneous ulcerative plaques and proteinuria in the setting of warfarin therapy. We would like to raise the awareness of this potential adverse effect of warfarin for prompt diagnosis.

Programmed cell death protein 1 inhibitor-induced recalcitrant mixed small and medium vessel vasculitis

Pembrolizumab, a programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1) inhibitor, has been known to be associated with several adverse reactions, including immune related adverse events. In less than one percent of patients, PD1 inhibitors have been linked to the development of connective tissue disease. Patients with previously known connective tissue disease are hypothesized to be at increased risk of flares in as many as 40% of cases. A 70-year-old man with a past medical history significant for rheumatoid arthritis in remission and stage IV lung adenocarcinoma presented to the dermatology clinic after one cycle of nivolumab and eight cycles of pembrolizumab exhibiting worsening, painful bilateral lower extremity ulcers for approximately one month. On the lower legs, three large black retiform eschars and bullous purpuric plaques were observed. Vasculitis is a rare complication of PD1 inhibitor therapy, with the majority of cases reported in literature either medium vessel or large vessel vasculitis. Only glucocorticoids have proven effective for PD1-induced vasculitis and these patients generally require multi-specialty management.

Photo Vignette

Spiny keratoderma

Spiny keratoderma is a rare entity characterized by filiform keratotic lesions on palms and soles. Although there are some inherited cases the majority are acquired. This last variant can be idiopathic or associated with neoplasms and chronic systemic diseases. We report a new case of spiny keratoderma associated with endometrial carcinoma.

An atypical presentation of discrete papular mucinosis in the genitalia mimicking a molluscum contagiosum infection

Discrete papular mucinosis is a rare variant of primary cutaneous mucinosis. Involvement of genitalia is extremely rare and can mimic molluscum contagiosum. We report the second case of a papular mucinosis with an exclusive genital involvement.

One person, two bilateral symmetrical giant Becker nevi

Becker nevus, first described by Samuel William Becker in 1949, is a focal epidermal hypermelanotic disorder. It commonly presents as a unilateral hyperpigmented patch that is predominantly distributed on the upper trunk and proximal extremities and frequently associated with hypertrichosis. There have been few reports in the literature of Becker nevus with bilateral involvement; multiple Becker nevi is also unusual. Herein, we report a young man with two bilateral symmetrical giant Becker nevi, one on the trunk with extension to both arms and the second on the abdomen.

Pseudoepitheliomatous, keratotic, and micaceous balanitis mimicking lichen sclerosus et atrophicus

We present a man in his 70s with a hyperkeratotic whitish plaque over the internal prepuce and glans. The lesion was slowly growing for four years prior to presentation and was resistant to several topical treatments. The histological examination of the lesion revealed marked hyperkeratosis and pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia, supporting the diagnosis of pseudoepitheliomatous, keratotic, and micaceous balanitis. It is important to be aware of this uncommon but potentially malignant condition affecting elderly men.

An unusual case of pigmented plaques on the sole

Palmoplantar lichen planus is a rare variant of lichen planus with diverse clinical presentations, making the diagnosis challenging. We present an unusual case of a young patient who presented with asymptomatic non-pruritic flat-topped pigmented plaques on his left sole and no other lesions elsewhere. Histology was consistent with lichen planus. We emphasize a high index of suspicion owing to varied clinical presentation and the necessity of a biopsy for diagnosis


Anaphylaxis following administration of extracorporeal photopheresis for cutaneous T cell lymphoma

Extracorporeal photopheresis is a non-invasive therapy used for the treatment of a range of T cell disorders, including cutaneous T cell lymphoma. During extracorporeal photopheresis, peripheral blood is removed from the patient and the white blood cells are separated from whole blood via centrifugation. The white blood cells are exposed to psoralen (a photosensitizing agent) and ultraviolet A radiation, causing cell apoptosis. The apoptotic leukocytes are subsequently re-infused into the patient, resulting in the production of tumor suppressor cells and clinical improvement. Extracorporeal photopheresis is generally regarded as safe with few side effects. We report a dermatology patient who developed anaphylaxis after receiving extracorporeal photopheresis for the treatment of leukemic mycosis fungoides. We suspect that our patient's anaphylaxis resulted from exposure to an agent used in extracorporeal photopheresis.

Granuloma inframammary adultorum, a case report

Granuloma inframammary adultorum represents a variant of erosive papulonodular dermatosis; we report a case of a patient with bilateral erosive plaques and nodules predominantly located under the breast.

Bullous fixed drug eruption related to multivitamins

Multivitamins are commonly consumed over-the-counter supplements. Drug reactions related to multivitamins are rare and very few cases have been reported. This is a case of a young woman who developed bullous fixed drug eruption to multivitamins.

Recruitment Advertisement

Academic Dermatologist

The University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, is recruiting for two academic dermatologists in the Clinical X series or Health Sciences Clinical Professor (HSCP) series at the Assistant/Associate/Full Professor level based on experience and qualifications. These positions are for general medical dermatologists.Expectations of the Clinical X series is to engage in teaching, research, service and clinical work, while expectations of the faculty in the HSCP series are primarily clinical and include teaching, service and scholarly and/or creative activity. The appointments may be made up to 100%.


The University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, is recruiting for a scientist position with skin immunology and microbiome research experience at the rank of Associate or Full Professor/In-Residence series based on experience and qualifications. Expectations of a Clinical X series is to engage in teaching, research, service, and clinical work, while expectations of faculty in the HSCP series are primarily clinical and include teaching, service, and scholarly and/or creative activities. The appointment may be made up to 100% and will report to the Chair of the Department of Dermatology. We especially welcome applicants whose research, teaching, andcommunity outreach demonstrably attest to their commitment to inclusion of under-represented and/or nonmajority individuals into their respective area of specialization within their discipline.