Cutis Tricolor

Martino Ruggieri, Agata Polizzi, Andrea D. Praticò, Selene Mantegna, Chiara Maria Battaglini, Concetta Pirrone, Mario Roggini, Francesco Lacarrubba, Giuseppe Micali, Elena Commodari, Antonio Zanghì, Ingo Kennerknecht, Carmelo Schepis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cutis tricolor is a skin abnormality consisting in a combination of congenital hyper- and hypopigmented skin lesions (in the form of paired macules, patches, or streaks) in close proximity to each other in a background of normal skin. It is currently regarded as a twin-spotting (mosaic) phenomenon. This phenomenon has been reported so far as a purely cutaneous trait, as a part of a complex malformation phenotype (Ruggieri-Happle syndrome), which includes distinct facial features, cataract, skull and vertebral defects, long bones dysplasia, corpus callosum, cerebellar and white matter anomalies, cavum vergae and holoprosencephaly, and other systemic abnormalities. Cutis tricolor has been also reported as a distinct type with multiple, disseminated smaller skin macules (cutis tricolor parvimaculata) or in association with other skin disturbances (e.g., phacomatosis achromico-melano-marmorata) or in the context of other neurocutaneous phenotypes (e.g., ataxia-telangiectasia and phacomatosis pigmentovascularis) or as a sign of complex malformation phenotypes (e.g., microcephaly and dwarfism). More than 20 studies reporting 40 cases are present in the literature with pure cutaneous or syndromic cutis tricolor phenomena and are analyzed in the present study, confirming and expanding the overall phenotype of cutis tricolor. In particular, (1) the skin abnormalities of the cutis tricolor do not evolve over time; (2) there is a typical facial phenotype with long, elongated face, thick and brushy eyebrows, hypertelorism, deep nasal bridge with large bulbous nose, and anteverted nostrils; (3) the skeletal defects are mild-to-moderate and do not progress or cause relevant orthopedic complications; (4) the neurological/behavioral phenotype does not progress and the paroxysmal events (if present) tend to decrease over time; (5) only three patients developed early onset (treatable) cataracts. Different pathologic hypotheses have been postulated, including, early or late postzygotic mutations involving the same gene loci (in the context of the so-called dydymotic theory): such mechanisms can explain the overall skin, bone, lens, and nervous system phenomena of migration of different streaks of clones in the different tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-281
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • cutis tricolor
  • hyperpigmented macules
  • hypopigmented macules
  • review
  • skeletal anomalies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cutis Tricolor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this