Epidermal nevus syndromes

Handb Clin Neurol. 2015:132:291-316. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-62702-5.00022-6.


The term epidermal nevus syndrome (ENS) has been used to describe the association of epidermal hamartomas and extracutaneous abnormalities. Although many continue to use the term "ENS," it is now understood that this is not one disease, but rather a heterogeneous group with distinct genetic profiles defined by a common cutaneous phenotype: the presence of epidermal and adnexal hamartomas that are associated with other organ system involvement. One commonality is that epidermal nevi often follow the lines of Blaschko and it appears the more widespread the cutaneous manifestations, the greater the risk for extracutaneous manifestations. The majority of the extracutaneous manifestations involve the brain, eye, and skeletal systems. The CNS involvement is wide ranging and involves both clinical manifestations such as intellectual disability and seizures, as well as structural anomalies. Several subsets of ENS with characteristic features have been delineated including the nevus sebaceus syndrome, Proteus syndrome, CHILD syndrome, Becker's nevus syndrome, nevus comedonicus syndrome, and phakomatosis pigmentokeratotica. Advances in molecular biology have revealed that the manifestations of ENS are due to genomic mosaicism. It is likely that the varied clinical manifestations of ENS are due in great part to the functional effects of specific genetic defects. Optimal management of the patient with ENS involves an interdisciplinary approach given the potential for multisystem involvement. Of note, epidermal nevi have been associated with both benign and malignant neoplasms, and thus ongoing clinical follow-up is required.

Keywords: Becker's nevus; CHILD syndrome; EN; Proteus syndrome; epidermal nevus; mosaic; nevus comedonicus; nevus sebaceous; phakomatosis pigmentokeratotica; vitamin D-resistant rickets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nevus* / genetics
  • Nevus* / pathology
  • Nevus* / physiopathology

Supplementary concepts

  • Epidermal Nevus