Subcorneal Pustular Dermatosis: A Review of 30 Years of Progress

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American Journal of Clinical Dermatology


Subcorneal pustular dermatosis (SPD), also known as Sneddon-Wilkinson disease, is a rare, benign yet relapsing pustular dermatosis. Its incidence and prevalence have not been well studied. It characteristically presents as hypopyon pustules on the trunk and intertriginous areas of the body. SPD is similar to two other disease entities. Both SPD-type immunoglobulin (Ig)-A pemphigus and annular pustular psoriasis clinically and histologically present similarly to SPD. Immunologic studies separate SPD-type IgA pemphigus from SPD and pustular psoriasis. However, there is still an unclear designation as to whether SPD is its own entity distinct from pustular psoriasis, as the once thought characteristic histologic picture of psoriasis does not hold true for pustular psoriasis. SPD has been reported to occur in association with several neoplastic, immunologic, and inflammatory conditions. Dapsone remains the first-line treatment for SPD, although dapsone-resistant cases have been increasingly reported. Other therapies have been used singly or as adjunctive therapy with success, such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents, tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, and ultraviolet light therapy. This article provides a review of the last 30 years of available literature, with a focus on successful treatment options and a suggestion for reappraisal of the classification of SPD.



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connective tissue diseases, glucocorticoids, hematologic diseases, immunosuppressive agents, phototherapy, rare diseases, vesiculobullous skin diseases