Skip to main content

24-03-2011 | Dermatology | Article

Halo nevi may predict vitiligo onset in some patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: Halo nevi can represent a distinct condition, but can precede vitiligo development in some patients, report researchers.

Halo nevi and vitiligo can occur together or separately and there has been some debate about whether they are different conditions or part of the same disease course.

Nanja van Geel (Ghent University, Belgium) and colleagues carried out a study to investigate this further, sending a questionnaire to 40 patients with halo nevi alone (group 1), 173 patients with generalized vitiligo alone (group 2), and 78 patients with both conditions (group 3).

They found that patients in group 1 had an earlier onset, less concurrent autoimmune disease, and were less likely to have a family history of vitiligo than those in the other two groups. They were also less likely to experience the Koebner phenomenon, which can result in more widespread disease following skin damage, than patients in groups 2 and 3.

Patients in group 3 more often had multiple halo nevi than those in group 1. In addition, group 3 patients reported the development of halo nevi prior to vitiligo in 61% of cases with a mean time to vitiligo development in these individuals of 33.7 months.

Presence of halo nevi did not seem to influence the type, extent, or activity of vitiligo.

"The observed differences between patients with vitiligo with associated halo nevi compared with patients with vitiligo without halo nevi points to possible different underlying etiopathological pathways," suggest van Geel and team.

"Further genetic analysis of the different subgroups can help to clarify these clinical entities," they conclude in the British Journal of Dermatology.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Helen Albert