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- Author or Editor: Bryan C. Markinson x
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Acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) is a disease that is found on the palms, soles, and nail beds. Because these areas are not often examined during general medical examinations, the presence of ALM often goes unnoticed or the diagnosis is delayed. Research shows that the misdiagnosis of ALM is common, reported between 20% and 34%. We present three cases of ALM that were initially misdiagnosed and referred to the senior author (B.C.M.) in an effort to assess why misdiagnosis is common. The existing literature illuminates clinical pitfalls in diagnosing ALM. The differential diagnosis of many different podiatric skin and nail disorders should include ALM. Although making the correct diagnosis is essential, the prognosis is affected by the duration of the disease and level of invasiveness. Unfortunately, most of the reported misdiagnosed cases are of a later stage and worse prognosis. This review highlights that foot and ankle specialists should meet suspect lesions with a heightened index of suspicion and perform biopsy when acral nonhealing wounds and/or lesions are nonresponsive to treatment.
Diagnosis and Management of Onychomycosis
Perspectives from a Joint Podiatric Medicine–Dermatology Roundtable
Onychomycosis is a fungal infection, and, as such, one of the goals of treatment should be eradication of the infective agent. Despite this, in contrast to dermatologists, many podiatric physicians do not include antifungals in their onychomycosis treatment plans. Before initiating treatment, confirmation of mycologic status via laboratory testing (eg, microscopy with potassium hydroxide preparation, histopathology with periodic acid–Schiff staining, fungal culture, and polymerase chain reaction) is important; however, more podiatric physicians rely solely on clinical signs than do dermatologists. These dissimilarities may be due, in part, to differences between specialties in training, reimbursement patterns, or practice orientation, and to explore these differences further, a joint podiatric medicine–dermatology roundtable was convened. In addition, treatment options have been limited owing to safety concerns with available oral antifungals and relatively low efficacy with previously available topical treatments. Recently approved topical treatments—efinaconzole and tavaborole—offer additional options for patients with mild-to-moderate disease. Debridement alone has no effect on mycologic status, and it is recommended that it be used in combination with an oral or topical antifungal. There is little to no clinical evidence to support the use of lasers or over-the-counter treatments for onychomycosis. After a patient has achieved cure (absence of clinical signs or absence of fungus with minimal clinical signs), lifestyle and hygiene measures, prophylactic/maintenance treatment, and proactive treatment for tinea pedis, including in family members, may help maintain this status.
Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nail primarily caused by the dermatophytes Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. The topical-based treatment of onychomycosis remains a challenge because of the difficulty associated with penetrating the dense, protective structure of the keratinized nail plate. Tavaborole is a novel small-molecule antifungal agent recently approved in the United States for the topical treatment of toenail onychomycosis. The low molecular weight, slight water solubility, and boron chemistry of tavaborole maximize nail penetration after topical application, allowing for effective targeting of the infection in the nail bed. The efficacy of tavaborole is associated with its novel mechanism of action, whereby it inhibits the fungal leucyl-tRNA synthetase (LeuRS) enzyme. Because LeuRS is an essential component in fungal protein synthesis, inhibition of LeuRS ultimately leads to fungal cell death. Tavaborole is the first boron-based antifungal medication approved for the treatment of mild-to-moderate onychomycosis and presents patients with a new topical option. Previously, ciclopirox and efinaconazole were the only approved topical treatments for onychomycosis. This article details the properties that are at the core of the clinical benefits associated with tavaborole.