Persistent Keratoses in Vitiligo

Skinmed. 2019 Nov 1;17(6):380-385. eCollection 2019.


The occurrence of keratoses in patients with psoriasis under treatment with psoralens and ultraviolet A (PUVA) has been described as an entity called PUVA keratosis. Similar lesions were seen later in patients with vitiligo under the same treatment. We describe the presence of distinct keratoses in the vitiligo lesions of three women patients from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The lesions started after PUVA treatment with total body irradiation, cabin or topical, and persisted long after the therapy was finished. All patients presented small rounded keratotic papules on achromic areas of the feet. Biopsies showed mild acanthosis, compact orthokeratotic hyperkeratosis, and hypergranulosis with increase of stratum granulosum layers or size increase of keratohyaline granules. Inflammatory infiltrate was sparse or absent. Cytologic atypia was not observed. Histologic features were compatible with reactive keratosis. None of the patients had a history of previous actinic keratosis or non-melanoma skin cancer and had been treated before with PUVA therapy either orally or topically; however, lesions occurred only in areas exposed to sunlight and persisted for long periods, even without treatment with PUVA or narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB). The authors discuss whether these lesions can be considered as PUVA keratosis or if the sun exposure may have played an important role in the reported cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Keratosis / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • PUVA Therapy / adverse effects*
  • PUVA Therapy / methods
  • Sunlight
  • Vitiligo / drug therapy*