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Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis Clinical Presentation

  • Author: Anthony A Gaspari, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
 
Updated: Jun 08, 2016
 

History

Epidermodysplasia verruciformis usually begins in infancy or early childhood, with the development of various types of flat, wartlike lesions and confluent plaques on the skin, especially on dorsal hands, extremities, face, and neck. Patients may also develop tinea versicolor–like lesions on the trunk.

Epidermodysplasia verruciformis lesions may progress to form verrucous plaques and nodules, or they may transform into invasive squamous cell carcinomas, most commonly between the ages of 20 and 40 years.

The clinical course of epidermodysplasia verruciformis is protracted. As the disease progresses, some lesions disappear, while new lesions may appear on other areas of the body. The rate of appearance of new lesions varies considerably.

The diagnosis of epidermodysplasia verruciformis should be suspected in the clinical setting of numerous verrucous lesions or when lesions are resistant to appropriate therapy.

Epidermodysplasia verruciformis variants may be suspected when a patient has the typical clinical presentation in the setting of epidermodysplasia verruciformis–associated HPV but lacks nonmelanoma skin cancers at a young age or has late-onset disease.

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Physical

Pertinent physical findings are limited to the skin and rarely occur on the mucosa.

Primary skin lesions manifest as 2 types, although they generally are polymorphic. The first type is flat, wartlike lesions resembling verruca plana; they are flat-topped papules with scaly, hyperpigmented or hypopigmented, sometimes confluent patches or plaques. Flat macules and reddish brown plaques with slightly scaly surfaces and irregular borders are also noted, as shown in the image below. These lesions may resemble tinea versicolor. Papules on the knees, the elbows, and the trunk may coalesce into large plaques.

Epidermodysplasia verruciformis cutaneous lesions Epidermodysplasia verruciformis cutaneous lesions with flat macules that vary from flesh-colored to reddish brown or brown plaques, with slightly scaly surfaces and irregular borders present on the forehead of an 8-year-old boy, who is one of the 2 sons of the epidermodysplasia verruciformis patient shown in the next image.

The second type is verrucous or seborrheic keratosis–like lesions; they are commonly seen on sun-exposed skin, including dorsum of hands, as shown in the image below.

Verrucous or seborrheic keratosis–like lesions of Verrucous or seborrheic keratosis–like lesions of epidermodysplasia verruciformis; they are commonly seen on sun-exposed skin. Lesions are present on dorsum of hands of a 34-year-old man who had 2 affected sons (previous image).

The wartlike lesions are mostly localized on sun-exposed areas, mainly distributed on the hands, the feet, and the face, sometimes in a linear arrangement, as demonstrated in the image below. The pigmented plaques preferentially involve the trunk, the neck, and the proximal extremities. The lesions may be found on the palms and the soles, in the axillae, and on the external genitalia. The mucous membranes (conjunctiva and oral cavity) are rarely affected.

A 41-year-old white woman with a 25-year history o A 41-year-old white woman with a 25-year history of numerous flat warts on her bilateral upper and lower extremities. Shave biopsy of a leg papule showed findings consistent with verruca plana.

Cutaneous lesions induced by EV-HPVs vary from flesh-colored warts (verruca vulgaris) to red, reddish-brown, and brown plaques.

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Causes

Epidermodysplasia verruciformis–associated HPVs can be divided into 2 groups. One group has high oncogenic potential (HPV types 5, 8, 10, and 47). More than 90% of epidermodysplasia verruciformis–associated skin cancers contain these virus types. The other group has low oncogenic potential (HPV types 14, 20, 21, and 25). These types are usually detected in benign skin lesions.

Proposed mechanisms for the development of epidermodysplasia verruciformis include the following:

  • An autosomal recessive mode of inheritance is supported by the finding that 10% of patients with epidermodysplasia verruciformis are offspring of consanguineous marriages. X-linked inheritance has rarely been reported. [1] A clear mode of inheritance is not evident in all cases.
  • Pathogenic mutations in 2 adjacent genes, EVER1 and EVER2, have been identified. [2, 6]
  • Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II alleles (DR-DQ) have been found in a large series of patients with epidermodysplasia verruciformis from Europe, Africa, and America.
  • Neither chromosomal abnormalities nor the relationship to any specific MHC class I antigens has been found in patients with epidermodysplasia verruciformis.
  • The exact mechanisms involved in the keratinocytic transformation within epidermodysplasia verruciformis skin lesions are unclear. Transcripts of the early region of viral genomes (E6 and E7 gene proteins) have been detected in epidermodysplasia verruciformis tumors. However, in most carcinomas, viral sequences are not integrated into the host genome.
  • Studies have shown that interactions occur between oncogenic HPVs and the antioncogene products, p53 and pRb, in cell cycle regulation, DNA repair, and the execution of programmed cell death (apoptosis). Failure of programmed cell death to eliminate cells with DNA damage may play an important role in the malignant transformation of squamous epithelium, with resultant proliferation, disruption of epithelial structural order, and development of cellular atypia. A decrease in UV-induced DNA repair synthesis, coupled with antioncogenic viral infection, further enhances the disposition for somatic mutations and malignant transformation in patients with epidermodysplasia verruciformis.
  • A specific defect of cell-mediated immunity, manifested by the inhibition of natural cytotoxicity and the proliferation of T lymphocytes against HPV-infected squamous cells in epidermodysplasia verruciformis skin lesions, is a characteristic feature of epidermodysplasia verruciformis.
  • Chronic sun-exposure coupled with immunologic defects in patients with epidermodysplasia verruciformis is likely to induce mutations of the tumor suppressor gene protein (p53), leading to the development of malignant skin cancer in adult patients.
  • UV-B–induced local immunosuppression on the skin of patients with epidermodysplasia verruciformis is known to be related to overproduction of immunosuppressive cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-b), interleukin 4, and interleukin 10, as well as excessive formation of cis- urocanic acid.
  • Studies have implicated a defect within keratinocytes. The activity of Langerhans cell antigen presentation appears normal in epidermodysplasia verruciformis, thus suggesting other cells cause immunotolerance to epidermodysplasia verruciformis–associated HPVs.
  • Lesions of epidermodysplasia verruciformis have been associated with common variable immunodeficiency and graft versus host disease. [13]
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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Anthony A Gaspari, MD Professor, Department of Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Anthony A Gaspari, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Association of Immunologists, American Contact Dermatitis Society, American Medical Association, Clinical Immunology Society, Dermatology Foundation, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Lester F Libow, MD Dermatopathologist, South Texas Dermatopathology Laboratory

Lester F Libow, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatopathology, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Grace F Kao, MD Clinical Professor of Dermatopathology, Department of Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and George Washington University Medical School; Director, Dermatopathology Section, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Veterans Affairs Maryland Healthcare System, Baltimore, Maryland

Grace F Kao, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatopathology, International Society of Dermatopathology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Kathryn Schwarzenberger, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Vermont College of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Division of Dermatology, Fletcher Allen Health Care

Kathryn Schwarzenberger, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Women's Dermatologic Society, American Contact Dermatitis Society, Medical Dermatology Society, Dermatology Foundation, Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Susannah E McClain, MD Resident Physician, Department of Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Susannah E McClain, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

References
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Epidermodysplasia verruciformis cutaneous lesions with flat macules that vary from flesh-colored to reddish brown or brown plaques, with slightly scaly surfaces and irregular borders present on the forehead of an 8-year-old boy, who is one of the 2 sons of the epidermodysplasia verruciformis patient shown in the next image.
Verrucous or seborrheic keratosis–like lesions of epidermodysplasia verruciformis; they are commonly seen on sun-exposed skin. Lesions are present on dorsum of hands of a 34-year-old man who had 2 affected sons (previous image).
A 41-year-old white woman with a 25-year history of numerous flat warts on her bilateral upper and lower extremities. Shave biopsy of a leg papule showed findings consistent with verruca plana.
Mild acanthosis, bridging of rete ridges, prominent granular layer, and rare koilocytotic keratinocytes, as is seen in lesions of verruca plana, are present in this lesion of epidermodysplasia verruciformis (hematoxylin and eosin; X150).
Left: Photomicrograph of a precancerous, verrucous skin lesion from a patient with epidermodysplasia verruciformis depicts the characteristic microscopic features of specific cytopathic effect, that is, the presence of clear cells and an occasional enlarged, hyperchromatic, atypical nucleus (center of the field) in the epidermis. These changes are seen in human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated epithelial lesions (hematoxylin-eosin stain, original magnification X250). Right: Photomicrograph of the same skin lesion shows positive staining of keratinocytes infected with HPV type 8 (in situ hybridization, original magnification X250). Note the darker, spherical-to-ovoid shaped positive nuclear staining. These are sites of HPV DNA.
Dense deposits of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA are demonstrated by immunostaining the skin biopsy of a warty lesion of epidermodysplasia verruciformis. Note prominent vacuolation of the cytoplasm of the infected cells (koilocytosis), typical of lesions associated with HPV infection. The darker positive staining areas are sites of HPV DNA (in situ hybridization, original magnification X450).
A photomicrograph shows an invasive well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, that arose in a warty lesion on sun-exposed skin of a middle-aged patient with epidermodysplasia verruciformis. Notice the atypical, neoplastic squamous cancer cells with irregular, hyperchromatic nuclei, and an occasional bizarre mitotic figure (shown near the 12-o'clock position in this field) invading into the dermis. A moderate host lymphocytic inflammatory response is present within the tumor (hematoxylin-eosin stain, original magnification X300). Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer found in patients with epidermodysplasia verruciformis.
 
 
 
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