Does inhibiting the epidermal growth factor receptor and mammalian target of rapamycin signaling pathways have therapeutic utility in Olmsted syndrome?
In this case series of 4 children with Olmsted syndrome, skin biopsies performed in 2 patients revealed increased activation of mammalian target of rapamycin signaling and epidermal growth factor receptor signaling. After treatment with oral sirolimus and/or erlotinib, all 4 patients showed substantial clinical and symptomatic improvement.
Findings from this study suggest that oral sirolimus and erlotinib may represent a novel, promising, and well-tolerated therapy for Olmsted syndrome.
Olmsted syndrome is a rare and disabling genodermatosis for which no successful treatment is currently available.
To evaluate the clinical response to the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor sirolimus and/or the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor erlotinib among patients with Olmsted syndrome.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This case series focused on 4 children with treatment-refractory Olmsted syndrome. These children received treatments (initiated in 2017 and 2018) at the outpatient dermatology clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC; and Hospital Infantil Pequeno Príncipe, Curitiba in Paraná, Brazil.
Immunohistochemical analyses for mTOR and EGFR activation were performed on skin biopsy specimens from 2 patients. Oral sirolimus was administered to these 2 patients at a dosage of 0.8 mg/m2 twice daily, titrated to a goal trough whole-blood concentration of 10 to 15 ng/mL. Erlotinib was administered to all 4 patients at a dosage of 2 mg/kg/d.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Clinical responses were assessed with visual analog scales for pruritus and pain and/or the Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index. Adverse effects were monitored throughout treatment.
Four patients (mean [SD] age, 7  years; 2 boys and 2 girls) were analyzed. Lesional skin immunostaining showed increased phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 (RPS6) and phosphorylated EGFR staining in the epidermis, indicating enhanced mTOR and EGFR signaling activation. Patients 1 and 2 were initially treated with sirolimus, displaying substantial clinical improvement in erythema and periorificial hyperkeratosis afterward. When switched to erlotinib, these patients showed substantial palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK) improvement. Patients 3 and 4 were treated with erlotinib only and later showed rapid and near complete resolution of PPK and substantial improvement in Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index scores. All 4 patients had sustained improvements in pruritus and pain. No severe adverse effects were reported.
Conclusions and Relevance
This study’s findings suggest that the EGFR-mTOR cascade may play a substantial role in the pathophysiological process of Olmsted syndrome and may serve as a major therapeutic target. Oral sirolimus and erlotinib may be a promising, life-altering treatment for pediatric patients with Olmsted syndrome.
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Zhang A, Duchatelet S, Lakdawala N, et al. Targeted Inhibition of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Signaling Pathways in Olmsted Syndrome. JAMA Dermatol. Published online January 02, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.4141
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