Is necrolytic migratory erythema due to glucagonoma a misnomer? A more apt name might be mucosal and intertriginous erosive dermatitis

J Cutan Med Surg. 2012 Mar-Apr;16(2):76-82. doi: 10.2310/7750.2011.10134.


Background: In dermatology, many conditions are given names that ultimately prove to be a misnomer (eg, mycosis fungoides, pyogenic granuloma). For most misnomers, continued use of the inappropriate word(s) rarely results in a delay in diagnosis and/or treatment. An argument can be made that the term necrolytic migratory erythema (NME) due to glucagonoma results in a delay in diagnosis, often with fatal consequences.

Objective: We reviewed the literature of the past 30 years concerning the dermatologic and histologic findings of NME in association with glucagonoma. The most striking feature evident in nearly all reported cases is the presence of mucosal lesions and annular, eroded, eczematous patches and plaques of intertriginous areas.

Conclusion: We propose the renaming of the eruption associated with glucagonoma to one that emphasizes its unique localization to the mucosa and intertriginous areas: mucosal and intertriginous erosive dermatitis. It is hoped that this will lead to a more timely recognition of the condition and a possible improvement in prognosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatitis / pathology*
  • Glucagonoma / pathology*
  • Glucagonoma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Necrolytic Migratory Erythema / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Terminology as Topic*