Hypertrichosis lanuginosa- acquired


Hypertrichosis lanuginosa acquisita is a very rare condition characterised by the rapid growth of long, fine, lanugo-type (i.e.: fetal) hair particularly around the eyebrows, forehead, ears and nose. It is similar to congenital hypertrichosis lanuginosa (see hypertrichosis) except that it appears later on in adulthood and in most cases associated with an underlying cancer.


The excessive hair growth in hypertrichosis is mainly a cosmetic problem but the disorder could also be a sign of underlying medical problems.


The cause of hypertrichosis lanuginosa acquisita is unknown but it is thought to be in response to hormones or substances released by the tumour. Most cases of hypertrichosis lanuginosa acquisita are associated with an internal malignancy. The most frequently associated cancers include lung, breast and uterine cancers, colorectal cancer, lymphoma, and bladder cancer. The ‘malignant down’ most often occurs late in the course of the cancer, however in some cases it may be the presenting sign of a tumour and can appear up to 2 years prior to diagnosis of cancer.


The main goal of treatment is to treat the underlying cancer. Because hypertrichosis lanuginosa acquisita typically occurs late in the course of the malignancy, the overall prognosis is poor. However, regression of hair growth is known to occur if the tumour is treated or removed. There is no specific treatment for hypertrichosis lanuginosa acquisita. To improve cosmetic appearance the following hair removal techniques may be used: * Hair removal techniques * Eflornithine cream * Laser hair removal * Mechanical or chemical depilation