Paraneoplastic pemphigus. A detailed case series from the Netherlands revealing atypical cases

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BACKGROUND: Paraneoplastic pemphigus (PNP) is an extremely rare life-threatening blistering autoimmune disease that is associated with an underlying neoplasm. There is a set diagnostic criterion for PNP, which is primarily based on a severe stomatitis and the detection of specific antibodies against envoplakin, periplakin and alpha-2-macroglobulin-like protein 1. However, it has becoming increasingly evident that there are patients with PNP that do not meet all the diagnostic criteria requirements.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to analyse our cohort of Dutch patients and to define the atypical cases that did not meet the diagnostic criteria.

METHODS: A retrospective case study of all known Dutch PNP patients of the past 25 years. Patients' clinical and immunological variables were thoroughly analysed and described.

RESULTS: Twenty-four patients were included in this study. The results revealed several atypical patient cases that did not completely meet the set diagnostic criteria. Of the 24 patients, two patients presented without a stomatitis, in three patients an underlying neoplasm could not be detected, and in two patients the presence of specific autoantibodies could not be demonstrated, although all other criteria for PNP were met. Finally, three out of the 24 patients survived the disease.

CONCLUSION: Although our findings showed similarities to previous studies and most of the patients met the criteria, there were a few atypical patient cases; highlighting the importance of not strictly adhering to the set criteria when making a diagnosis, as this can lead to a missed or late diagnosis. Thus, it is of crucial importance to combine clinical and elaborate laboratory results to confirm the diagnosis of PNP in suspected patients. Although PNP harbours an unfavourable prognosis in most cases, it might be resolved by timely treatment of the underlying cause.

Originele taal-2English
TijdschriftJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
DOI's
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 22-aug-2022

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