Nevus Comedonicus

Nevus Comedonicus

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In 1895, Kofmann [1] described the first case of nevus comedonicus. It manifests as groups of closely set, dilated follicular openings with dark keratin plugs resembling comedones. The majority of cases are isolated. However, nevus comedonicus may be part of nevus comedonicus syndrome in association with skeletal or central nervous system anomalies, ocular abnormalities, and cutaneous defects. [2, 3, 4]

See the image below.

Many consider nevus comedonicus to be a hamartoma deriving from a failure of the mesodermal part of the folliculosebaceous unit to develop properly, with subsequent abnormal differentiation of the epithelial portion. The follicular structures that result are unable to form terminal hair or sebaceous glands and are capable only of producing soft keratin, which accumulates in the adnexal orifices and produces the comedonelike lesions observed in persons with this condition. Another view is that nevus comedonicus is an epidermal nevus involving hair follicles or an appendageal nevus of sweat ducts. Lesions that extend onto a palm or sole typically demonstrate sweat duct dilatation with keratin in the volar portion of the lesion. See Epidermal Nevus Syndrome for more information.

The etiology of nevus comedonicus is unclear. Why some nevus comedonicus patients present late in life is not known, although a genetic mosaicism has been proposed. While the majority of cases are sporadic, several families with this condition have been documented. Only one report has described nevus comedonicus occurring in homozygous twins. [5]

Exact figures are lacking. Nevus comedonicus is considered relatively rare. One dermatology department found 12 cases in 100,000 skin biopsy specimens. Another department reported an incidence of 1 case per 45,000 dermatology visits. The incidence of nevus comedonicus syndrome is even more difficult to estimate; it is considered less common than nonsyndromal nevus comedonicus.

No racial predilection is recognized.

Males and females are equally affected.

Approximately 50% of cases of nevus comedonicus are evident at birth, with the other 50% developing during childhood, usually before age 10 years. A few case reports describe onset later in life, including in the seventh decade. These cases usually occur after some form of trauma [6] or a rash.

Most patients are asymptomatic. Uncommonly, the lesions become repeatedly inflamed and infected, leading to painful cysts, abscesses, fistula formation, and scarring. Additionally, patients may be distressed over the cosmetic appearance of the lesions. Spontaneous resolution has not been described. All lesions persist unless treated. They often grow at puberty.

Kofmann S. A case of rare localization and spreading of comedones. Arch Dermatol Syphilol. 1895. 32:177-8.

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Martinez M, Levrero P, Bazzano C, Larre Borges A, De Anda G. Nevus comedonicus syndrome in a woman with Paget bone disease and breast cancer: a mere coincidence?. Eur J Dermatol. 2006 Nov-Dec. 16(6):697-8. [Medline].

Giam YC, Ong BH, Rajan VS. Naevus comedonicus in homozygous twins. Dermatologica. 1981. 162(4):249-53. [Medline].

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Bettoli V, Toni G, Ricci M, Zauli S, Virgili A. Hidradenitis suppurativa-acne inversa-like lesions complicating naevus comedonicus: second case supporting the mechanical stress as a triggering factor. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2016 Jun. 151 (3):306-7. [Medline].

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Levinsohn JL, Sugarman JL, Yale Center for Mendelian Genomics, McNiff JM, Antaya RJ, Choate KA. Somatic Mutations in NEK9 Cause Nevus Comedonicus. Am J Hum Genet. 2016 May 5. 98 (5):1030-7. [Medline].

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Rossitza Lazova, MD Associate Professor of Dermatology and Pathology, Director of Dermatopathology Residency and Fellowship Program, Yale University School of Medicine; Consulting Pathologist/Dermatopathologist, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, West Haven, Connecticut

Rossitza Lazova, 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.

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD Dermatologic/Mohs Surgeon, The Surgery Center at Plano Dermatology

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.

William D James, MD Paul R Gross Professor of Dermatology, Vice-Chairman, Residency Program Director, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

William D James, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: Elsevier; WebMD.

Barbara R Reed, MD Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, Dermatology Service, Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center; Consulting Staff, Denver Skin Clinic

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous authors Joseph J. Shaffer, MBBS, Vincent A. de Leo, MD, to the development and writing of this article.

Nevus Comedonicus

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