A review of the clinical phenotype of 254 patients with genetically confirmed pachyonychia congenita

Mark J. Eliason, Sancy A. Leachman, Bing Jian Feng, Mary E. Schwartz, C. David Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Background: Pachyonychia congenita (PC) is a group of autosomal dominant keratinizing disorders caused by a mutation in one of 4 keratin genes. Previous classification schemes have relied on data from case series and case reports. Most patients in these reports were not genetically tested for PC. Objective: We sought to clarify the prevalence of clinical features associated with PC. Methods: We surveyed 254 individuals with confirmed keratin mutations regarding their experience with clinical findings associated with PC. Statistical comparison of the groups by keratin mutation was performed using logistic regression analysis. Results: Although the onset of clinical symptoms varied considerably among our patients, a diagnostic triad of toenail thickening, plantar keratoderma, and plantar pain was reported by 97% of patients with PC by age 10 years. Plantar pain had the most profound impact on quality of life. Other clinical findings reported by our patients included fingernail dystrophy, oral leukokeratosis, palmar keratoderma, follicular hyperkeratosis, hyperhidrosis, cysts, hoarseness, and natal teeth. We observed a higher likelihood of oral leukokeratosis in individuals harboring KRT6A mutations, and a strong association of natal teeth and cysts in carriers of a KRT17 mutation. Most keratin subgroups expressed a mixed constellation of findings historically reported as PC-1 and PC-2. Limitations: Data were obtained through questionnaires, not by direct examination. Patients were self- or physician-referred. Conclusions: We propose a new classification for PC based on the specific keratin gene affected to help clinicians improve their diagnostic and prognostic accuracy, correct spurious associations, and improve therapeutic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-686
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • genodermatosis
  • hyperkeratosis
  • keratin
  • keratinizing disorder
  • keratoderma
  • pachyonychia congenita

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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