• Users Online: 1301
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

  Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 348-351  

Unilateral hypertrophic skin lesions, hemimegalencephaly, and meningioma: The many faces of Proteus syndrome

1 Department of Dermatology, ESI-Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (PGIMSR), ESI Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Dermatology, Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication4-Sep-2015

Correspondence Address:
Niharika R Lal
32, Prince Rahimuddin Lane, Tollygunge, Kolkata - 700 033, West Bengal
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: Employees' State Insurance Corporation, Joka, Kolkata, West Bengal, India, Conflict of Interest: None declared.

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.164477

Rights and Permissions

Proteus syndrome is a rare condition with a wide spectrum of abnormalities. It is characterized by hamartomatous malformations involving multiple organs. Serious complications may ensue, such as pulmonary embolism, cystic lung disease, and various neoplasms such as parotid adenomas, ovarian cystadenomas, and meningiomas. We report here a case of Proteus syndrome in a 21-year-old woman who had facial hemihypertrophy, cerebriform plantar hyperplasia, hemimegalencephaly, and meningioma for the rarity of the entity.

Keywords: Collagenoma, hemimegalencephaly, meningioma, Proteus syndrome

How to cite this article:
Lal NR, Bandyopadhyay D, Sarkar AK. Unilateral hypertrophic skin lesions, hemimegalencephaly, and meningioma: The many faces of Proteus syndrome. Indian Dermatol Online J 2015;6:348-51

How to cite this URL:
Lal NR, Bandyopadhyay D, Sarkar AK. Unilateral hypertrophic skin lesions, hemimegalencephaly, and meningioma: The many faces of Proteus syndrome. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Dec 3];6:348-51. Available from: https://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2015/6/5/348/164477

   Introduction Top

Proteus syndrome is a hamartomatous disorder characterized by focal overgrowths that can involve any structure of the body giving rise to a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations.[1] It is a complex developmental abnormality that possibly reflects somatic mosaicism for a mutation that would be lethal in a non-mosaic state.[2] Proteus syndrome is believed to be exceedingly rare, with less than 100 confirmed cases reported worldwide[3] with an estimated incidence of less than 1 case per 1,000,000 live births. Skin changes in Proteus syndrome include cerebriform connective tissue nevi, epidermal nevi, vascular malformations, lipomas, lipohypoplasia, and dermal hypoplasia.[4] Other systems that may be involved are the musculoskeletal, eye, venous, pulmonary, and the central nervous systems.[5] Only six cases of Proteus syndrome with meningioma[3] have been reported in the literature till date, the paucity of which has prompted us to present this case.

   Case Report Top

A 21-year-old woman presented with asymmetry of face and limbs and gross thickening of palmoplantar skin. The lesions were asymptomatic and began to appear at three years of age. The lesions evolved gradually to attain the present dimensions. The patient was born of a non-consanguineous parentage, with no family history of similar abnormalities. She had undergone bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy at the age of 11 years for multiple ovarian cysts, resulting in primary amenorrhea. Her past medical history was otherwise unremarkable.

On examination, we saw asymmetrical overgrowth on the right side of her head, face, and upper and lower limbs. There was a clear line of demarcation separating the hypertrophic right side from the normal left side of her face [Figure 1]. Ptosis of the right eyelid and proptosis of the right eye was noted. Secondary sexual characteristics were poorly developed corresponding to Tanner stage II. There was macrodactyly of hand and feet and cerebriform thickening of the right palmar and plantar skin [Figure 2], and [Figure 3]. No bony swellings or subcutaneous masses were noticed. Histology of a biopsy specimen from the plantar skin revealed a normal epidermis, thick bundles of collagen in the papillary and reticular dermis, consistent with connective tissue nevus [Figure 4], and [Figure 5]. There were no vascular malformations or prominent vessels in the course of the limbs. No alopecia, café au lait macules, or neurofibromas were noted.
Figure 1: Facial asymmetry of right side with ptosis of right eyelid, proptosis, and narrowing of palpebral fissure

Click here to view
Figure 2: Palmar thickening of right hand with macrodactyly

Click here to view
Figure 3: Cerebriform plantar hyperplasia of right foot

Click here to view
Figure 4: Histopathology of palmar skin revealing increased collagen in the dermis (hematoxylin and eosin, ×100)

Click here to view
Figure 5: Thick bundles of collagen in the dermis (stained blue by Masson's trichrome staining ×50)

Click here to view

Investigations revealed a normal routine hemogram and coagulation profile. Thyroid profile was normal. Plain skiagraphy revealed thoracic scoliosis, hypertrophy of bones of right upper and lower limbs, and macrodactyly. Computed tomography scan of whole abdomen showed absence of ovaries on both sides. No tumors of the colon or rectum were seen. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain revealed hemimegalencephaly, fibrous dysplasia, and an extra-axial space occupying lesion in the right anterior middle cranial fossa, suggestive of meningioma [Figure 6].
Figure 6: Magnetic resonance imaging brain showing extra-axial meningioma of right anterior middle cranial fossa

Click here to view

Based on the distinctive clinical, radiological, and histopathological findings, a diagnosis of Proteus syndrome was made and the patient referred to the neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon for tumor excision and correction of facial disfigurement, respectively.

   Discussion Top

The term Proteus syndrome was coined by Wiedemann in 1983, after the mythical Greek god Proteus, whose name means "the polymorphous,", who could change shape to avoid capture.[6] The unique feature of Proteus syndrome is the morphologic variability characterized by abnormalities in growth (asymmetric overgrowth, increased stature, macrodactyly, soft tissue hypertrophy, elongated neck, macrocephaly), musculoskeletal (hemihypertrophy, bony prominences, ankle ankylosis, craniosynostosis, mandibular prognathia, scoliosis, pectus excavatum, thinning of the cortical layer of long bones), eyes (ptosis, strabismus, nystagmus, myopia, colobomas, cataracts, epibulbar dermoids, blue sclera), central nervous system (seizures, mental retardation,), vascular malformations (venous, arterial, capillary or a combination of these, port wine stain) and the lung (cysts).[5] Tumor-like monomorphic adenomas, meningiomas, and ovarian cystadenomas may also be present.[3]

The following are the three general criteria necessary for the clinical diagnosis without regard to specific clinical features:[3]

  • Lesions follow a mosaic distribution or pattern
  • Problems follow a progressive course
  • The disorder appears to be sporadic (i.e., not inherited).

Specific criteria are listed in [Table 1]. For diagnosis, one criterion from category A or two from category B, or three from category C must be fulfilled. Our patient had one category A, two category B, and one category C features, thus confirming the diagnosis of Proteus syndrome.
Table 1: Specific criteria for diagnosis of Proteus syndrome[3]

Click here to view

The clinical differentials of Proteus syndrome include Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, Bannayan-Riley syndrome (macrocephaly, capillary malformation, polyposis coli, and Hashimoto thyroiditis), encephalocraniocutaneous syndrome (nevus psiloliparus consisted of large, slightly protuberant usually unilateral soft masses on scalp with complete alopecia, skin colored papular eruptions on face with some bony and eye and neurological changes), hemihyperplasia syndrome (multiple lipomas, cutaneous vascular overgrowth without any progressive overgrowth), and neurofibromatosis (macrocephaly, café au lait macules, and neurofibromas).[2]

Neurological manifestations in Proteus syndrome are characterized by megalencephaly, mental retardation, seizures, and meningiomas.[7] Asahima et al. reported a case of Proteus syndrome with multiple spinal meningiomas and lung cysts,[8] whereas Horie et al. reported multiple intracranial meningiomas from an autopsy case of Proteus syndrome.[9] Gilbert et al. have also reported multiple meningiomas, craniofacial hyperostosis, and retinal abnormalities in Proteus syndrome.[10]

Our patient presented with characteristic features of Proteus syndrome along with extra-axial meningioma and primary amenorrhea. Her lack of menarche was possibly due to bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy for ovarian cysts. Both meningiomas and ovarian cysts are uncommon neoplasms associated with Proteus syndrome.[3]

The mainstay of treatment for Proteus syndrome includes early identification of serious medical problems and the use of prophylactic and symptomatic treatment. Laser treatment is useful for removing cutaneous vascular markings and malformations, such as port wine stains and capillary hemangiomas. Leg length discrepancy can create a host of secondary morbidities and needs to be addressed by an experienced orthopaedist. Aggressive management of the thrombosis may be lifesaving in patients who present with calf or leg pain, a palpable cord, and shortness of breath or respiratory distress. Severe disfigurement and social stigmatization are additional challenges that must be addressed.[7]

   References Top

Criton S, Abdul PA, Asokan PU. Proteus syndrome. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1995;61:152-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Sarma N, Malakar S, Lahiri K. Unilateral Proteus syndrome. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2005;71:122-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Cohen MM Jr. Proteus syndrome: An update. C Semin Med Genet 2005;137C: 38-52.  Back to cited text no. 3
Nguyen D, Turner JT, Olsen C, Biesecker LG, Darling TN. Cutaneous manifestations of proteus syndrome: Correlations with general clinical severity. Arch Dermatol 2004;140:947-53.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sinha R, Chandrashekhar, Sodhi K, Kiran YK. Proteus syndrome. Pediatric Oncall [serial online] 2010[cited 2010 March 0];7. Art #15. Available From: http://www.pediatriconcall.com/Journal/Article/FullText.aspx?artid=292&type=J&tid=&imgid=&reportid=98 &tbltype= [Last accessed on 2014 Jun 12].  Back to cited text no. 5
Alavi S, Chakrapani A, Kher A, Bharucha BA. The proteus syndrome. J Postgrad Med1993;39:219-21.  Back to cited text no. 6
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Pletcher BA. Genetics of Proteus Syndrome. Available from: http://www.emedicine.medscape.com/article/948174 overview#a0199. [Last accessed on 2014 Jun 12].  Back to cited text no. 7
Asahima A, Fujita H, Omori T, Kai H, Yamamoto M, Mii K. Proteus syndrome complicated by multiple spinal meningiomas. Clin Exp Dermatol 2008;33:729-32.  Back to cited text no. 8
Horie Y, Fujita H, Mano S, Kuwajima M, Ogawa K. Regional proteus syndrome: Report of an autopsy case. Pathol Int 1995;45:530-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
Gilbert-Barness E, Cohen MM Jr, Opitz JM. Multiple meningiomas, craniofacial hyperostosis and retinal abnormalities in proteus syndrome. Am J Med Genet 2000 31;93:234-40.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6]

  [Table 1]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
   Case Report
    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded272    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal