Vascular anomalies in Proteus syndrome

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2004 May;29(3):222-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2004.01513.x.


Proteus syndrome (PS) is a complex hamartomatous disorder defined by local overgrowth (macrodactyly or hemihypertrophy), subcutaneous tumours and various bone, cutaneous and/or vascular anomalies (VA). VA are manifold in PS, but their prevalence is unknown so far. In order to further characterize PS, we studied the prevalence of VA in 22 PS patients presenting to our outpatient clinic and reviewed 100 PS patients previously reported between 1983 and 2001. The diagnosis of vascular abnormalities was made on clinical grounds and supported with imaging studies and/or histology in 12 and seven patients out of 22, respectively. Thirty-five VA were identified in 22/22 (100%) of our patients, and more than one type of VA were present in 10 of them. Vascular tumours, portwine stains (PWS), and venous anomalies (varicosities, prominent veins) were equally common. A total of 118 VA were previously reported in 70/100 (70%) PS patients; vascular hamartomas were more prevalent (56/118 = 47.5%), whilst PWS (21.2%) and venous anomalies (22.9%) were slightly less common than in our series, but there is the possibility of under-reporting. Unlike Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, where VA are mostly confined to the hypertrophic limb, major arteriovenous anomalies are rare, and - similar to the other hamartomas and naevi observed in PS (pigmentary naevi, epidermal naevi, subcutaneous tumours, exostoses) - VA appear to be distributed at random sites on the body. We conclude that VA are among the most common findings in PS. Their varying type and distribution lend further support to the concept of somatic mosaicism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hemangioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Port-Wine Stain / pathology
  • Proteus Syndrome / pathology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Abnormalities / pathology*