Case Reports

Acquired Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis Occurring in a Renal Transplant Recipient

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Acquired epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EDV) is a rare condition occurring in patients with depressed cellular immunity, particularly individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Acquired EDV is less commonly reported in recipients of stem cell or solid organ transplantation. This condition typically manifests within 5 years of initial immunosuppression and can present as multiple hypopigmented to red, tinea versicolor–like macules or as multiple verrucous, flat-topped papules distributed over the trunk, arms, and legs. Human papillomavirus (HPV) types 5 and 8 are the most commonly isolated EDV-HPV subtypes as well as the most oncogenic subtypes, carrying the greatest risk for malignant transformation into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). We present the case of a 44-year-old renal transplant recipient who developed multiple hypopigmented papules on the chest and neck with histopathology showing characteristic changes of EDV.

Practice Points

  • Acquired epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EDV) is a rare complication of iatrogenic immuno-suppression in the setting of solid organ transplantation.
  • Patients with EDV should be counseled to avoid exposure to UV radiation to reduce the risk formalignant transformation.



Acquired epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EDV) is a rare disorder occurring in patients with depressed cellular immunity, particularly individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Rare cases of acquired EDV have been reported in stem cell or solid organ transplant recipients. Weakened cellular immunity predisposes the patient to human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, with 92% of renal transplant recipients developing warts within 5 years posttransplantation.1 Specific EDV-HPV subtypes have been isolated from lesions in several immunosuppressed individuals, with HPV-5 and HPV-8 being the most commonly isolated subtypes.2,3 Herein, we present the clinical findings of a renal transplant recipient who presented for evaluation of multiple skin lesions characteristic of EDV 5 years following transplantation and initiation of immunosuppressive therapy. Additionally, we review the current diagnostic findings, management, and treatment of acquired EDV.

A 44-year-old white woman presented for evaluation of several pruritic cutaneous lesions that had developed on the chest and neck of 1 month’s duration. The patient had been on the immunosuppressant medications cyclosporine and mycophenolate mofetil for more than 5 years following renal transplantation 7 years prior to the current presentation. She also was on low-dose prednisone for chronic systemic lupus erythematosus. Her family history was negative for any pertinent skin conditions.

On physical examination the patient exhibited several grouped 0.5-cm, shiny, pink lichenoid macules located on the upper mid chest, anterior neck, and left leg clinically resembling the lesions of pityriasis versicolor (Figure 1). A shave biopsy was taken from one of the newest lesions on the left leg. Histopathology revealed viral epidermal cytopathic changes, blue cytoplasm, and coarse hypergranulosis characteristic of EDV (Figure 2). A diagnosis of acquired EDV was made based on the clinical and histopathologic findings.

Figure 1. Epidermodysplasia verruciformis with pink scaly macules on the chest resembling pityriasis versicolor (A and B).

Figure 2. Biopsy demonstrated enlarged keratinocytes with blue cytoplasm and hypergranulosis characteristic of epidermodysplasia verruciformis (H&E, original magnification ×40).

The patient’s skin lesions became more widespread despite several different treatment regimens, including cryosurgery; tazarotene cream 0.05% nightly; imiquimod cream 5% once weekly; and intermittent short courses of 5-fluorouracil cream 5%, which provided the best response. At her most recent clinic visit 8 years after initial presentation, she continued to have more widespread lesions on the trunk, arms, and legs, but no evidence of malignant transformation.


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