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Keywords:

  • Epstein–Barr virus;
  • hydroa vacciniforme;
  • photoprovocation

Summary

Background  There are many reports of patients with a severe hydroa vacciniforme (HV)-like eruption in which cutaneous lesions occur in both sun-exposed and non-exposed areas, unlike in true HV. Several patients have died from a malignant haematological neoplasm. In most cases, a latent Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection has been detected in the skin lesions.

Objectives  To describe the clinical and laboratory features of six additional patients with an EBV-associated HV-like eruption.

Methods  The clinical, histological and immunohistochemical features were reviewed. T-cell receptor γ gene rearrangements were studied using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and heteroduplex analysis. In-situ hybridization was performed to detect mRNA for EBV in skin biopsy specimens. PCR was performed to screen for EBV infection in the skin lesions of three patients and blood of two patients. Photoprovocation with repeated ultraviolet (UV) A exposure was performed in three patients.

Results  The severity of the skin lesions and the clinical course varied among the patients. Skin lesions were induced by repeated UVA exposure in three patients and a latent EBV infection was demonstrated in the photoprovoked lesions.

Conclusions  Three different clinical courses were found in six patients with an HV-like eruption associated with chronic EBV infection: (i) spontaneous remission; (ii) clearing after photoprotection; and (iii) continuous recurrence irrespective of sun exposure. It is possible that there are two patterns of HV-like eruption associated with chronic EBV infection. One is characterized by recurrent necrotic papulovesicles of the face and the other by nodules and facial swelling. It was demonstrated that the skin lesions could be triggered by repeated UVA exposure in the patients showing recurrent necrotic papulovesicles of the face.