Tripe palms: Almost Always a Sign of Internal Cancer

Tripe palms are very rare skin condition associated with internal cancer. It is estimated that more than 90% of the cases with tripe palms have underlying malignancy. In most of the cases, it usually occurs before cancer is diagnosed, but can arise at any point during the course of the cancer.

Tripe palms are characterized by velvety, rugose thickening of the palms that resembles tripe, the villous stomach lining of pork, beef, or sheep. Many experts consider this to be a form of palmar acanthosis nigricans, because of its clinical similarities and frequency of co-occurrence. Some also called it as “acanthosis palmaris” and “acanthosis nigricans of the palms”. One may sometime experience tenderness around periungual region.

What Causes Tripe Palms?

The exact cause of tripe palm is unclear but some suggest that it might be due to some substances from the associated cancer that might stimulate the palm skin cells to proliferate. Tripe palms are frequently seen in associated with acanthosis nigricans. In patient with both acanthosis nigricans and tripe palms, stomach cancer is common findings while in patient with tripe palms alone, lung cancer is most common. Other cancers associated with tripe palms are tumors of head and neck and tumors of genitourinary tract. In few cases they are also associated with psoriasis, bullous pemphigoid and exfoliative dermatitis.

If one has tripe palm, a detail cancer checkup should be done because in almost 50% of the cases, they are the initial signs of internal cancer.

 

 

How is tripe palm diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnose the condition just by its characteristics appearance. If there is confusion your doctor may perform biopsy to confirm the case.

Treatment of Tripe Palm

There is no specific treatment for tripe palms. Treatment modalities are targeted in treating the underlying cause for tripe palms. Removal of the underlying tumor may allow improvement in around 30% of the cases. Few papers have suggested that retionids alone or in combination with metformin might help in improving the lesion.

There is no way to prevent the development of tripe palms. Patients should be up to date with standard cancer screenings.

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