Oral and nail pigmentations: a useful parallelism for the clinician

Emi Dika, Michela Starace, Martina Lambertini, Annalisa Patrizi, Giulia Veronesi, Aurora Alessandrini, Bianca Maria Piraccini
Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft: JDDG 2020, 18 (1): 7-14
Oral (OP) and nail (NP) pigmentations may occur simultaneously in physiological or pathological conditions, and may be a sign of underlying syndromic conditions that necessitate further investigation and treatment. Interestingly, the nail unit and oral cavity show a clinical parallelism that may help the clinician to conduct a correct examination and reach a prompt diagnosis. Both OP and NP can manifest clinically with focal or diffuse involvement and are due to external factors (exogenous pigmentation, drug-induced pigmentation) or endogenous factors (racial pigmentation, post-inflammatory pigmentation, nevi, genetic conditions and other disorders). The most concerning differential diagnosis is melanoma. Here we report the pathogenetic basis of OP and NP, together with the description of similar clinical features. To the best of our knowledge this is the first paper to summarize and describe the causes of pigmentation of both the oral cavity and the nail unit.

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