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Necrolytic migratory erythema
Classification and external resources

Necrolytic migratory erythema in a patient with Glucagonoma
DiseasesDB 8833
eMedicine derm/168

Necrolytic migratory erythema (NME) is a red, blistering rash that spreads across the skin, particularly the lower abdomen, buttocks, perineum, and groin. It is strongly associated with glucagonoma, a glucagon-producing tumor of the pancreas, but is also seen in a number of other conditions including liver disease and intestinal malabsorption.




Clinical features

NME features a characteristic skin eruption of red patches with irregular borders, intact and ruptured vesicles, and crust formation.[1] It commonly affects the limbs and skin surrounding the lips, although less commonly the abdomen, perineum, thighs, buttocks, and groin may be affected.[1] Frequently these areas may be left dry or fissured as a result.[1] All stages of lesion development may be observed synchronously.[2] The initial eruption may be exacerbated by pressure or trauma to the affected areas.[1]


The histopathologic features of NME are nonspecific[3] and include:[4]

  • epidermal necrosis
  • subcorneal pustules
  • confluent parakeratosis, epidermal hyperlpasia, and marked papillary dermal hyperplasia in a psoriasiform pattern
  • angioplasia of papillary dermis
  • suppurative folliculitis

The vacuolated, pale, swollen epidermal cells and necrosis of the superficial epidermis are most characteristic.[2] Immunofluorescence is usually negative.[2]


The pathogenesis of NME is unknown, although various mechanisms have been suggested. These include hyperglucagonemia, zinc deficiency, fatty acid deficiency, hypoaminoacidemia, and liver disease.[2]

Associated conditions

William Becker first described an association between NME and glucagonoma in 1942[2][5] and since then, NME has been described in as many as 70% of individuals with a glucagonoma.[6] NME is considered part of the "glucagonoma syndrome",[7] which is associated with hyperglucagonemia, diabetes mellitus, and hypoaminoacidemia.[2] When NME is identified in the absence of a glucagonoma, it may be considered "pseudoglucagonoma syndrome".[8] Less common than NME with glucagonoma, pseudoglucagonoma syndrome may occur in a number of systemic disorders:[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Thiers BH, Sahn RE, Callen JP (2009). "Cutaneous manifestations of internal malignancy". CA: a Cancer Journal for Clinicians 59 (2): 73–98. doi:10.3322/caac.20005. PMID 19258446. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Pujol RM, Wang CY, el-Azhary RA, Su WP, Gibson LE, Schroeter AL (January 2004). "Necrolytic migratory erythema: clinicopathologic study of 13 cases". International Journal of Dermatology 43 (1): 12–8. PMID 14693015. 
  3. ^ Wilkinson DS (1973). "Necrolytic migratory erythema with carcinoma of the pancreas". Transactions of the St. John's Hospital Dermatological Society 59 (2): 244–50. PMID 4793623. 
  4. ^ Kheir SM, Omura EF, Grizzle WE, Herrera GA, Lee I (July 1986). "Histologic variation in the skin lesions of the glucagonoma syndrome". The American Journal of Surgical Pathology 10 (7): 445–53. PMID 3014912. 
  5. ^ Becker WS, Kahn D, Rothman S (1942). "Cutaneous manifestations of internal malignant tumors". Archives of Dermatology and Syphilology 45 (6): 1069–1080. 
  6. ^ van Beek AP, de Haas ER, van Vloten WA, Lips CJ, Roijers JF, Canninga-van Dijk MR (November 2004). "The glucagonoma syndrome and necrolytic migratory erythema: a clinical review". Eur. J. Endocrinol. 151 (5): 531–7. doi:10.1530/eje.0.1510531. PMID 15538929. 
  7. ^ Odom, Richard B.; Davidsohn, Israel; James, William D.; Henry, John Bernard; Berger, Timothy G.; Clinical diagnosis by laboratory methods; Dirk M. Elston (2006). Andrews' diseases of the skin: clinical dermatology. Saunders Elsevier. pp. 143. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0. 
  8. ^ Marinkovich MP, Botella R, Datloff J, Sangueza OP (April 1995). "Necrolytic migratory erythema without glucagonoma in patients with liver disease". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 32 (4): 604–9. PMID 7896950. 
  9. ^ Mignogna MD, Fortuna G, Satriano AR (December 2008). "Small-cell lung cancer and necrolytic migratory erythema". The New England Journal of Medicine 359 (25): 2731–2. doi:10.1056/NEJMc0805992. PMID 19092164. 


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