Crow–Fukase Syndrome: A Distinct Clinical Entity and Its Pathophysiology

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Crow-Fukase Syndrome: A Comprehensive Overview


Crow-Fukase syndrome (CFS), also known as dyschromatosis symmetrica hereditaria (DSH), is a rare genetic disorder characterized by a unique pattern of hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation of the skin. It was first described in 1948 by surgeons William Crow and Masayoshi Fukase.


CFS is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder, meaning that only one copy of the altered gene is sufficient to cause the condition. The gene responsible for CFS, known as SLC45A2, encodes a protein called solute carrier family 45 member 2 (SLC45A2). SLC45A2 is involved in the transport of melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin.

Clinical Features


  • Symmetrical, dark brown to black patches of skin
  • Typically located on the face (forehead, nose, cheeks, chin) and dorsal surfaces of the hands and feet
  • May appear at birth or develop gradually over time


  • Symmetrical, lighter-colored patches of skin
  • Often located on the neck, trunk, and extremities
  • May be white, cream, or pink in color

Other Features:

  • Café-au-lait spots
  • Cutaneous atrophy (thinning of the skin)
  • Keratosis pilaris (rough, bumpy skin)
  • Ocular abnormalities (e.g., nystagmus, ptosis)
  • Hearing loss
  • Dental abnormalities


There are two main types of CFS:

Type I (Classic):

  • Onset at birth or early childhood
  • Symmetrical hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation
  • Associated ocular and auditory abnormalities

Type II (Late-Onset):

  • Onset later in childhood or adulthood
  • Hypopigmentation is more prominent than hyperpigmentation
  • May not have associated ocular or auditory abnormalities

Associated Conditions

CFS has been associated with several other conditions, including:

  • Waardenburg syndrome (a rare genetic disorder characterized by hearing loss, pigmentary disturbances, and lateral displacement of the inner canthi)
  • Tietz syndrome (a rare genetic disorder characterized by unilateral facial asymmetry, limb anomalies, and multiple café-au-lait spots)
  • Alström syndrome (a rare genetic disorder characterized by retinal degeneration, hearing loss, obesity, and diabetes)


Diagnosis of CFS is based on clinical examination, family history, and genetic testing. Genetic testing can confirm the diagnosis by identifying mutations in the SLC45A2 gene.

Differential Diagnosis

CFS should be differentiated from other conditions with similar skin manifestations, such as:

  • Lentigines
  • Melasma
  • Vitiligo
  • Piebaldism
  • Tuberous sclerosis


There is no cure for CFS. Treatment is primarily focused on managing the symptoms and improving the patient’s quality of life. Options may include:

Laser Therapy:

  • Pulsed dye laser can be used to treat hyperpigmentation


  • Protect hypopigmented areas from sun damage

Skin Care:

  • Emollients and moisturizers can help alleviate skin dryness

Cosmetic Procedures:

  • Makeup or skin camouflage can be used to conceal skin changes

Support Groups

  • Joining support groups can provide emotional support and connect patients with others who share their condition


The prognosis for CFS is generally good. The skin changes typically do not progress significantly over time. However, associated ocular and auditory abnormalities can impact the patient’s quality of life.

Research Developments

Research into CFS is ongoing. Studies are focused on understanding the genetic basis of the disorder, developing new treatment options, and exploring the role of melanocyte function in disease development.


Crow-Fukase syndrome is a rare genetic disorder characterized by a unique pattern of hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation of the skin. While there is no cure, treatment can help manage the symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life. Ongoing research is essential to further understanding and developing new therapies for CFS.

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