Palmoplantar Pustulosis: Recent Advances in Etiopathogenesis and Emerging Treatments

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2020 Jun;21(3):355-370. doi: 10.1007/s40257-020-00503-5.


Palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP) is a chronic, recurrent skin disease belonging to the spectrum of psoriasis. It is characterized by an eruption of sterile pustules on the palms and soles. Recent studies in PPP have focused on genetic differences between pustular phenotypes and the role of the innate immunological system and the microbiome in the etiopathogenesis of the disease. Mutations in IL36RN (a major predisposing factor for generalized pustular psoriasis) were found in selected patients with PPP and were associated with earlier disease onset. Studies have shown that the interleukin (IL)-17 and IL-36 pathways might be involved in the pathogenesis of PPP. A microbiome has been demonstrated in the vesicopustules of PPP, and an abundance of Staphylococcus appears to be increased by smoking. Improved understanding of the underlying etiopathogenesis of PPP has led to advances in treatment options, and targeted therapies for PPP have been evaluated or are under evaluation against more than 12 molecules in ongoing clinical trials. These targets include CXCR2 (IL-8 receptor type B), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor receptor, IL-1 receptor, IL-8, IL-12, IL-23, IL-17A, IL-17 receptor, IL-36 receptor, phosphodiesterase-4, and tumor necrosis factor-α.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Biopsy
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Comorbidity
  • Cytokines / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cytokines / genetics*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dermatologic Agents / pharmacology
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Microbiota / immunology*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods
  • Mutation
  • Phototherapy / methods
  • Psoriasis / epidemiology
  • Psoriasis / etiology*
  • Psoriasis / psychology
  • Psoriasis / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Skin / pathology
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcus / immunology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cytokines
  • Dermatologic Agents