Primary Localized Cutaneous Amyloidosis: A Retrospective Study of an Uncommon Skin Disease in the Largest Tertiary Care Center in Switzerland

Dermatology. 2022;238(3):579-586. doi: 10.1159/000518948. Epub 2021 Sep 15.


Background: Primary localized cutaneous amyloidosis (PLCA) is defined by the deposition of amyloid protein in the skin without systemic involvement. There are four subtypes of PLCA: lichen amyloidosis (LA), macular amyloidosis (MA), biphasic amyloidosis (BA), and nodular amyloidosis (NA). PLCA occurs most frequently in Latin Americans and Asians. Treatment is not standardized.

Objectives: To identify subtypes, demographic and clinical features and treatment efficacy in patients with histopathologically confirmed PLCA.

Materials and methods: Data of PLCA patients were extracted from the electronic hospital database and included if diagnosis of PLCA was histopathologically confirmed and if sufficient information regarding treatment and follow-up was available. The evaluation of the treatment efficacy was based on a novel score to assess the reduction of itch and skin lesions.

Results: In this retrospective, monocentric study, 37 cases of PLCA diagnosed between 2000 and 2020 were included (21 females) with a mean age of 52 years. LA was the most frequent subtype found in 21 patients (56.8%), followed by MA in 10 patients (28%) and BA in 6 patients (16.2%). No cases of NA were included. 22 patients (59.4%) had skin phototype II or III. Regarding treatment, a combination of UVA1 phototherapy with high-potency topical corticosteroids seemed to show the highest efficacy with complete clearance of symptoms in 4 patients (10.8%). A substantial improvement of symptoms was found in 5 patients (12.7%) treated with high-potency topical corticosteroids alone or in combination either with UVA1 or bath PUVA or monotherapy with UVA1 phototherapy or capsaicin (0.075%) cream. Low-/medium-potency topical corticosteroids alone or in combination with UVBnb (311 nm) phototherapy showed a lower efficacy.

Conclusion: Our data show that PCLA is a rare disease in central Europe but can also be expected in a predominantly Caucasian population. The best treatment response was achieved with a combination of UVA1 phototherapy and high-potency topical corticosteroids.

Keywords: Amyloid; Lichen amyloidosis; Macular amyloidosis; Phototherapy; Primary localized cutaneous amyloidosis; Topical corticosteroids.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Amyloidosis* / pathology
  • Amyloidosis, Familial
  • Dermatologic Agents*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Diseases, Genetic* / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases, Genetic* / pathology
  • Skin Diseases, Genetic* / therapy
  • Switzerland
  • Tertiary Care Centers


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Dermatologic Agents

Supplementary concepts

  • Amyloidosis, Primary Cutaneous