Palmoplantar keratodermas: clinical and genetic aspects

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2016 Feb;14(2):123-39; quiz 140. doi: 10.1111/ddg.12930.


Palmoplantar keratodermas comprise a diverse group of acquired and hereditary disorders marked by excessive thickening of the epidermis of palms and soles. Early onset and positive family history suggest a genetic cause. While hereditary forms of palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK) may represent the sole or dominant clinical feature, they may also be associated with other ectodermal defects or extracutaneous manifestations. In recent years, much progress has been made in deciphering the genetic basis of PPK, which has led to the emergence of new disorders and syndromes. The elucidation of disease mechanisms has opened new avenues for specific therapies, increasingly sparking interest in this field. Given the high heterogeneity with respect to clinical features, genetic defects, and disease mechanisms, the classification of PPK is based on various criteria. These include extent of disease manifestations, morphology of palmoplantar skin involvement, inheritance patterns, and molecular pathogenesis. Though not always feasible, the clinical distinction of various PPK entities is based on fine-tuned criteria or clues. Remarkably, apparently distinct disorders have been shown to be allelic, as they are caused by mutations in the same gene. By contrast, similar clinical pictures may result from mutations in different genes. Because of this complexity, mutation analysis is required to determine the precise type of PPK. The best-defined entities are described in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermoscopy / methods*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Keratoderma, Palmoplantar / diagnosis*
  • Keratoderma, Palmoplantar / genetics*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods