Characteristics of Xeroderma Pigmentosum in Japan: Lessons From Two Clinical Surveys and Measures for Patient Care

Photochem Photobiol. 2019 Jan;95(1):140-153. doi: 10.1111/php.13052. Epub 2018 Dec 28.


Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) is a rare autosomal recessive hereditary disease caused by deficiency in repair of DNA lesions generated by ultraviolet radiation and other compounds. Patients with XP display pigmentary change and numerous skin cancers in sun-exposed sites, and some patients show exaggerated severe sunburns even upon minimum sun exposure as well as neurological symptoms. We conducted a nationwide survey for XP since 1980. In Japan, the frequency of the XP complementation group A is the highest, followed by the variant type; while in the Western countries, those of groups C or D are the highest. Regarding skin cancers in XP, basal cell carcinoma was the most frequent cancer that afflicted patients with XP, followed by squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. The frequency of these skin cancers in patients with XP has decreased in these 20 years, and the age of onset of developing skin cancers is higher than those previously observed, owing to early diagnosis and education to patients and care takers on strict prevention from sunlight for patients with XP. On the other hand, the effective therapy for neurological XP has not been established yet, and this needs to be done urgently.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Phenotype
  • Skin Neoplasms / classification
  • Skin Neoplasms / complications
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum / complications
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum / epidemiology
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum / pathology*
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum / therapy*


  • Sunscreening Agents