Drug-induced pyoderma gangrenosum: a model to understand the pathogenesis of pyoderma gangrenosum

B. C. Wu, E. D. Patel, A. G. Ortega-Loayza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) is a rare autoinflammatory condition in which the alteration of neutrophil function and the innate immune response play key roles in its pathogenesis. Cases of PG have been reported in patients being treated with certain medications, which may help us to understand some of the possible pathways involved in the aetiology of PG. The aim of this review is to review the cases of PG triggered by certain drugs and try to thoroughly understand the pathogenesis of the disease. To accomplish this, a PubMed search was completed using the following words: pyoderma gangrenosum, neutrophilic dermatosis, pathophysiology, drug-induced pyoderma gangrenosum. In total, we found 43 cases of drug-induced PG. Most of them were caused by colony-stimulating factors and small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors. We propose that drugs induce PG through various mechanisms such as dysfunctional neutrophil migration and function, dysregulated inflammatory response, promotion of keratinocyte apoptosis and alteration of epigenetic mechanisms. PG is a rare condition with complex pathophysiology and drug-induced cases are even more scarce; this is the main limitation of this review. Understanding the possible mechanisms of drug-induced PG, via abnormal neutrophil migration and function, abnormal inflammation, keratinocyte apoptosis and alteration of epigenetic mechanisms would help to better understand the pathogenesis of PG and ultimately to optimize targeted therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-83
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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