The sign of Leser-Trélat in a case of adenocarcinoma of the lung

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000 Aug;43(2 Pt 2):386-90. doi: 10.1067/mjd.2000.104967.


This is what we believe to be the first report of the sign of Leser-Trélat in association with occult adenocarcinoma of the lung. The sign of Leser-Trélat is proposed as a sign of possible occult malignancy, despite various suggestions to the contrary. Also, it is suggested that a tumor-produced humoral factor (eg, transforming growth factor-alpha [TGF-alpha]) could be responsible for both the acute eruption of the monomorphous seborrheic keratoses and the nearly concomitant development of acanthosis nigricans, which occurred in our case. The possible distinction between a hyperplastic and a neoplastic origin of various types of seborrheic keratosis is discussed in relation to this hypothetical humoral factor. In addition, we suggest a refinement of the definition of the sign of Leser-Trélat and discuss the use of "sign of Leser-Trélat" and "syndrome of Leser-Trélat" in relation to physical findings. All patients with the sign of Leser-Trélat should undergo a thorough evaluation for occult malignancy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acanthosis Nigricans / diagnosis*
  • Acanthosis Nigricans / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Keratosis, Seborrheic / diagnosis*
  • Keratosis, Seborrheic / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / pathology
  • Skin / pathology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha