Multiple benign symmetric lipomatosis--a differential diagnosis of obesity. Is there a rationale for fibrate treatment?

Obes Surg. 2008 Oct;18(10):1354-6. doi: 10.1007/s11695-008-9491-1. Epub 2008 Jun 5.


Multiple benign symmetric lipomatosis (MSL) is characterized by a rapid progression of multiple, symmetric nonencapsulated fat masses in the face, neck, and extremities. The lipomas are thought to be the result of defective brown adipose tissue (BAT). In up to 90% MSL is associated with chronic alcohol abuse. Prognosis depends on the concomitant presence of a neuropathy with a mortality of 25.8%. Therapeutic options are limited to alcohol abstinence and surgical interventions. We report here about a 53-year-old MSL patient who increased his body weight by 37 kg over 10 years. Multiple lipectomies were performed, but disease progressed. We treated him with fenofibrates (200 mg/day). Disease progression discontinued and circumferences of abdominal adipose tissue reduced. Fibrates, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR alpha) agonists, are pleiotropic hypolipidemic drugs, and might have worked by suppression of protein expressions involved in the architecture of BAT keeping it in a quiescent state.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fenofibrate / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lipomatosis, Multiple Symmetrical / diagnosis*
  • Lipomatosis, Multiple Symmetrical / drug therapy*
  • Lipomatosis, Multiple Symmetrical / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diagnosis*


  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Fenofibrate