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Ann Dermatol. 2009 Aug;21(3):261-7. doi: 10.5021/ad.2009.21.3.261. Epub 2009 Aug 31.

Progressive macular hypomelanosis in korean patients: a clinicopathologic study.

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Department of Dermatology, Busan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.



Progressive macular hypomelanosis is characterized by ill-defined, non-scaly, hypopigmented macules primarily on the trunk of the body. Although numerous cases of progressive macular hypomelanosis have been reported, there have been no clinicopathologic studies of progressive macular hypomelanosis in Korean patients.


In this study we examined the clinical characteristics, histologic findings, and treatment methods for progressive macular hypomelanosis in a Korean population.


Between 1996 and 2005, 20 patients presented to the Department of Dermatology at Busan Paik Hospital with acquired, non-scaly, confluent, hypopigmented macules on the trunk, and with no history of inflammation or infection. The medical records, clinical photographs, and pathologic findings for each patient were examined.


The patients included 5 men and 15 women. The mean age of onset was 21.05+/-3.47 years. The back was the most common site of involvement. All KOH examinations were negative. A Wood's lamp examination showed hypopigmented lesions compared with the adjacent normal skin. A microscopic examination showed a reduction in the number of melanin granules in the lesions compared with the adjacent normal skin, although S-100 immunohistochemical staining did not reveal significant differences in the number of melanocytes. Among the 20 patients, 7 received topical drug therapy, 6 were treated with narrow-band ultraviolet B phototherapy, 4 received oral minocycline, and 3 did not receive any treatment.


Most of the patients with progressive macular hypomelanosis had asymptomatic ill-defined, non-scaly, and symmetric hypopigmented macules, especially on the back and abdomen. Histologically, the number of melanocytes did not differ significantly between the hypopigmented macules and the normal perilesional skin. No effective treatment is known for progressive macular hypomelanosis; however, narrow-band ultraviolet B phototherapy may be a useful treatment modality.


Narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy; Progressive macular hypomelanosis

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