Ustekinumab therapy for Netherton syndrome

Liat Samuelov, Waseem Shehadeh, Ofer Sarig, Andrea Gat, Hagit Matz, Eli Sprecher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Netherton syndrome (NS) is a rare disorder of cornification associated with high morbidity. It is caused by bi-allelic mutations in SPINK5 encoding the serine protease inhibitor LEKTI. Previous studies have shown Th17 skewing with IL-23 upregulation in NS, raising the possibility that targeting these inflammatory pathways may alleviate disease manifestations. We ascertained the therapeutic efficacy of six doses of ustekinumab administered to three patients with NS over a period of 13 months using the Ichthyosis Area and Severity Index (IASI), the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), a visual analogue scale (VAS) for itch and the peak-pruritus numeric rating scale (PP-NRS). Histopathology analysis including CD3, CD4, CD8 and interleukin 17 (IL-17) immunostaining, was performed at baseline and 4 weeks following the last ustekinumab dose. Total IASI scores were reduced by 28% in two patients at week 16 with sustained response by week 56. No consistent improvement in DLQI, VAS for itch and PP-NRS scores was observed. The inflammatory infiltrate and the degree of acanthosis were slightly reduced at week 56 as compared to baseline. No significant change in immunostaining of the various inflammatory markers was observed at week 56. In conclusion, this case series did not demonstrate a significant therapeutic effect of ustekinumab in NS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-499
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Ichthyosis Area and Severity Index
  • Netherton syndrome
  • ustekinumab


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