Multiple symmetric and multiple familial lipomatosis

Presse Med. 2021 Nov;50(3):104077. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2021.104077. Epub 2021 Oct 21.


Lipomas are the most common soft tissue tumors and are malignant in only 1% of cases. Lipomatosis is defined as the presence of multiple benign lipomas on the body, without lipoatrophy. Their impact on quality of life is significant. Different entities have been described such as symmetrical multiple lipomatosis (MSL), also called Madelung's disease and familial multiple lipomatosis (FML). MSL occurs preferentially in men (but also women) who are alcohol abuser. There are different subtypes of the disease, the most classic of which affects the upper body and the nuchal region with a buffalo hump appearance. A metabolic component with obesity is frequent. In contrast to Dercum's disease, there is no pain. SAOS, complications of the metabolic syndrome and of alcohol abuse including cancers, may be associated and should be screened. FML has been little described in the literature since Brodie's first report in 1846. FML occurs preferentially in the third decade but equally in women and men. Its autosomal dominant component is classically accepted with variable penetrance within the same family. Association with naevi, angiomas, polyneuropathies and with gastrointestinal comorbidities has been reported. Interestingly, and in contrast with most lipodystrophy disorders, the patients show an insulin sensitivity profile. A better understanding of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms would open up avenues on therapeutic research, since treatments are only symptomatic to date.

Keywords: Familial multiple lipomatosis; Lipomatoses; Multiple symmetric lipomatosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Familial Multiple Lipomatosis* / diagnosis
  • Familial Multiple Lipomatosis* / genetics
  • Familial Multiple Lipomatosis* / pathology
  • Female
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / genetics
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipomatosis, Multiple Symmetrical* / diagnosis
  • Lipomatosis, Multiple Symmetrical* / genetics
  • Lipomatosis, Multiple Symmetrical* / pathology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Obesity / complications
  • Phenotype
  • Quality of Life


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • MFN2 protein, human