Introduction: Palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP) is a chronic, recurrent and difficult to treat skin condition characterized by the presence of pustules, erythema, and hyperkeratosis on palms and soles.
Methods: Fifteen subjects with PPP were randomized (2:1) to receive subcutaneous injections of either etanercept 50 mg or a placebo twice a week for 3 months. All subjects then received the etanercept 50 mg injections twice a week for an additional 3 months.
Results: Etanercept was well tolerated by subjects with PPP. The decrease in median Palmoplantar Pustulosis Area and Severity Index (PPPASI) score from baseline to 24 weeks was statistically significant for subjects treated with etanercept for 24 weeks (P = 0.038, n = 10) but not for subjects in the placebo/etanercept cross-over group (P = 0.125, n = 5). Comparison of changes in PPPASI from baseline to week 12 was not statistically significant for subjects assigned to etanercept or to placebo. Some subjects treated with etanercept presented good clinical improvements in PPP severity whereas others showed an increase in PPP severity.
Conclusion: This study showed that etanercept was well tolerated in subjects with PPP and suggests that some PPP subjects might benefit from etanercept therapy. Larger studies are needed to assess PPP response to etanercept including the influence of smoking and the presence or absence of psoriasis outside palms and soles.