Background  Acrochordons are common and benign skin tumours. A few studies with contradictory results have been reported regarding the abnormalities of carbohydrate and/or lipid metabolisms in patients with acrochordons.

Objectives  We aimed to determine if the presence of acrochordons could be a marker of diabetes, hyperlipidemia, liver enzyme abnormalities and hypertension by comparing with a control group.

Methods  A total of 110 patients having two or more acrochordons and age- and gender-matched 110 controls were included in the study. Localization, size and the total number of acrochordons were recorded in the patient group. Fasting plasma glucose (FPG), serum lipids and liver enzyme levels were tested in patient and controls. All participants underwent a standard 2-h oral glucose tolerance test with 75 g glucose. Diabetes mellitus and impaired glucose intolerance were diagnosed according to the American Diabetes Association criteria. Arterial blood pressures were measured in two groups.

Results  A total of 56 patients and 10 controls were diagnosed with overt DM. Thirteen per cent of the patients and 9% of controls had an impaired glucose tolerance test. The difference was statistically significant for the diagnosis of DM and not significant for the impaired glucose tolerance. The mean levels of FPG, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglyceride, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyltransferase and alkaline phosphatase were significantly higher in patients than those in controls. Furthermore, serum levels of HDL were less in patients. Patients with acrochordons had higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures than controls.

Conclusions  The results of our study suggest that acrochordons may represent a cutaneous sign for impaired carbohydrate or lipid metabolism, liver enzyme abnormalities and hypertension.