American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 199–203 | Cite as

Acanthosis Nigricans Associated with Insulin Resistance

Pathophysiology and Management
  • Trinh Hermanns-Lê
  • André Scheen
  • Gérald E. PiérardEmail author
Review Article


The association of acanthosis nigricans, skin tags, diabetes mellitus due to insulin resistance, and obesity in adolescents and young adults represents a well defined syndrome. Hyperandrogenism may also be present. The endocrine origin of this condition is beyond doubt. Insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1, and their receptors on keratinocytes are obviously involved in the complex regulations leading to the peculiar epidermal hyperplasia. This condition is unrelated to other types of acanthosis nigricans, including the congenital and the paraneoplastic types.

Control of obesity contributes largely to reverse the whole process, essentially by reducing both insulin resistance and compensatory hyperinsulinemia. Several drugs including metformin, octreotide, retinoids and topical colecalciferol (vitamin D3) analogs are also beneficial in clearing acanthosis nigricans.


Insulin Resistance Metformin Octreotide Acromegaly Acarbose 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trinh Hermanns-Lê
    • 1
  • André Scheen
    • 1
  • Gérald E. Piérard
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departments of Dermatopathology and Diabetes, Nutrition and Metabolic DisordersUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium

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