Pityriasis rotunda

What causes pityriasis rotunda?

The exact cause of pityriasis rotunda is unknown, but some researchers believe that it may be a variant of ichthyosis vulgaris. Other researchers believe that pityriasis rotunda is caused by malnutrition, but this is not universally accepted. The presence of systemic disease, which is characteristic of type 1 pityriasis rotunda, appears to be most common in South African and Japanese individuals, but is less common among Caucasians. Type 1 most often occurs with stomach cancer and liver cancer. Other conditions that type 1 pityriasis rotunda has been associated with include:

It has been proposed that type 2 pityriasis rotunda, which is typically inherited in families and seen in lighter skinned individuals, is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner.

Last updated on 05-01-20

What is pityriasis rotunda?

Pityriasis rotunda is a rare skin disease characterized by round, scaly, pigmented patches that mainly occur on the trunk, arms and legs. There are two types of pityriasis rotunda. Type 1 is seen mainly in East/Southeast Asian and South African individuals older than 60 years, and is often associated with internal disease or malignancy (cancer). Type 2 occurs in lighter skinned individuals younger than 40 years, and often in several members of the same family. Type 2 pityriasis rotunda is not associated with internal disease or malignancy. The cause of pityriasis rotunda is unknown, but it may be a variant of ichthyosis vulgaris. Type 1 most often occurs with liver and stomach cancer.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How common is pityriasis rotunda?

Pityriasis rotunda is very uncommon in the United States. A review of the English-language literature revealed only 5 case reports from the United States, which described 6 African American patients. However, pityriasis rotunda is a well-known condition in South Africa, Japan, and Italy. Cases of pityriasis rotunda have also been reported in Israel, England, Egypt, Portugal, Tanzania, and India.

Last updated on 05-01-20

How might pityriasis rotunda be treated?

There is no specific treatment for pityriasis rotunda. People diagnosed with this condition usually need to undergo medical and physical examinations and have appropriate laboratory and radiographic tests to check for internal disease or malignancies. The lesions usually improve or resolve with treatment of the underlying internal disease or malignancy. Symptomatic treatment of lesions using topical retinoids, salicylic acid ointment, and lactic acid lotion has been used. However, the lesions can be resistant to therapy.

Last updated on 05-01-20


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The RareGuru disease database is regularly updated using data generously provided by GARD, the United States Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.

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