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The Leser-Trélat Sign in a Patient with Gastric Adenocarcinoma.

Dear Editor, The Leser-Trélat sign is a rare paraneoplastic cutaneous marker of internal malignancy characterized by sudden eruption of multiple seborrheic keratoses (SK). It is mostly associated with gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas (gastric, colon, rectal), and less frequently with breast cancer and lymphoproliferative disorders/lymphoma (1). It can be also associated with lung, kidney, liver, and pancreas malignancy (1). Pruritus occurs in half of the patients. Lesions rarely require any treatment, as they mostly tend to resolve once management of the underlying malignancy has started (2). A 32-year-old female patient with family history of colorectal cancer presented with an acute eruption of SK. She reported that the first symptoms were the loss of appetite and intense pruritus. The brown papules appeared over a period of 2-3 months, first on her back, then on the abdomen, thorax, neck, and lasty on the extremities (Figures 1a and b.). Physical examination showed numerous brown hyperkeratotic papules and plaques on the trunk, neck, and extremities. The patient complained of night sweating, epigastric pain, and heartburn. Over the last three months, she had lost over 15 kg. The patient had experienced an episode of acute gastritis 10 years ago and had been treated for Helicobacter pylori infection 4 years ago. Laboratory results showed elevated sedimentation rate and decreased levels of hemoglobin, erythrocytes, and hematocrit. CA-19-9 and CEA levels were elevated. Gastroscopy with multiple biopsies confirmed gastric adenocarcinoma. An abdominal CT scan revealed enlarged retroperitoneal lymph nodes. SK withdrew after total gastrectomy and commencement of chemotherapy. The Leser-Thrélat sign was named after two surgeons, Edmund Leser and Ulysse Trélat, who described the eruption of cutaneous lesions in patients with cancer (3). However, the correlation between multiple SK and internal malignancy was described by Hollander in 1900 (4). Acute eruption of SK has also been reported in some other cases, such as benign tumors, pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus infections, use of adalimumab, and others, which indicates that the Leser-Trélat sign is not highly specific (5). It is also somewhat controversial whether a sudden appearance of SK can be considered a marker for internal malignancy, since both SK and malignancies occur more frequently in the elderly population, thus allowing for a higher likelihood of coincidence (6). However, the patient in this case was young and therefore less likely to suddenly develop such a large number of SK, which are more commonly seen after the age of 50 (7). Although the pathogenesis of Leser-Thrélat sign is not fully understood, there are data suggesting an association with tumor-secreting growth factors including epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor-alpha, both of which can stimulate the epidermal growth factor receptor (8). Sudden appearance of eruptive SK is uncommon in young patients. This specific sign highlights the importance of considering internal malignancy in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with eruptive SK.

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