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December 1961

Protection from Sunlight in Vitiligo

Author Affiliations


Department of Dermatology, University of Oklahoma School of Medicine. This work was supported by an American Cancer Society Institutional Grant.

Arch Dermatol. 1961;84(6):997-998. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580180113017

The occurrence of carcinoma in areas of vitiligo is extremely rare. Its occurrence has never been recorded at the University of Oklahoma where an average of 200 new skin cancers a year are seen. Some protection against ultraviolet irradiation other than melanin must exist in these patients. Finsen1 as early as 1900 suggested that the development of hyperkeratosis might afford protection. Lovisatti,2 Guillaume,3 and Wirth4 later demonstrated the increased tolerance to ultraviolet light in vitiliginous and other patients. In 1930, Miescher5 showed microscopically the hyperkeratosis which occurs upon exposure to ultraviolet light. Comparative measurements of the keratin response in vitiliginous and pigmented areas have never been recorded. Accordingly, the following study was undertaken.

Method  Seven patients with vitiligo were studied. All presented symmetrical depigmentation of the extremities. In each patient, an erythema dose of ultraviolet light from a hot quartz mercury vapor lamp was administered

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