Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-mediated, inflammatory dermatosis whose aetiopathogenesis remains unclear, although tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) appears to play a crucial role. The biological potential of TNFα inhibitors, such as etanercept, which reduce the inflammatory cascade, has radically changed the therapeutic management of patients with psoriasis and other immunomediated inflammatory diseases, associated with TNFα. The pathogenesis of the selective destruction of melanocytes in vitiligo is not fully understood, although there is growing evidence that several T helper type 1 cytokines, particularly TNFα, may be involved in the depigmentation process.
A patient is described who presented with both psoriasis and vitiligo, and was treated with etanercept. After 24 weeks of therapy, the patient’s psoriasis had improved markedly and the patient noted a mild improvement of vitiligo, with a reduction in macules and repigmentation in the scapular region.