Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome and Hornstein-Knickenberg syndrome are the same. Different sectioning technique as the cause of different histology

J Cutan Pathol. 1999 Jan;26(1):55-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0560.1999.tb01792.x.


The autosomal dominant inherited syndromes of Hornstein and Knickenberg (HKS), and Birt, Hogg and Dube (BHDS) are both characterized clinically by the overall spread of multiple flesh coloured papules of the skin. However, it is a matter of debate if colonic neoplasms (adenomas as well as adenocarcinomas) are associated findings in the HKS or rather in the BHDS. Furthermore, histological differences are said to exist between the skin lesions in the two syndromes: whereas perifollicular fibromas were described in the HKS, fibrofolliculomas and trichodiscomas were found in the BHDS. In the present study, we report on a father and his daughter in whom we initially diagnosed a BHDS. We then examined a greater number of the papular lesions in histologic sections cut vertically as well as horizontally to the epidermis. Our results indicate that the histologic differences between the skin lesions in the two syndromes are artificial ones, caused by interpretation of different sectioning planes, and that consequently HKS and BHDS are the same. Therefore, it is necessary to look for colonic polyps in the syndrome in question, regardless if one prefers the name HKS or BHDS for it.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Fibroma / genetics
  • Fibroma / pathology*
  • Hair Follicle / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microtomy / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Syndrome