Study: 7 in 10 Vitiligo Patients Have Familial History of Disease


The VALIANT study featured a cross-sectional online survey that was used to recruit adult patients 18 years and older who were professionally diagnosed with vitiligo.

John E. Harris, MD, PhD

John E. Harris, MD, PhD

New data from the VALIANT study considered the natural history of vitiligo in patients from the United States and found that 71% had a family history of the disease.

The findings, which were presented at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) 2022 Annual Meeting in Boston, contributed to the limited epidemiological studies of vitiligo that have often been limited by smaller sample sizes.

The VALIANT study featured a cross-sectional online survey that was used to recruit adult patients 18 years and older who were professionally diagnosed with vitiligo.

Patients were recruited from across the world including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, and more. However, the AAD presentation focused exclusively on the findings from the US.

Eligible patients completed an online screener intended to collected high-level demographics, confirm vitiligo, and provide consent for the study.

The accompanying survey probed for family history of vitiligo, self-reported factors influencing vitiligo, and the management methods currently being used. Vitiligo was assessed using the validated Self Assessment Vitiligo Extent Score (SA-VES) tool that incorporated an array of validated images to aid patients in defining their condition and how it affected the body surface area (BSA).

A total of 95, 623 participants were invited to the survey, with 637 completing the survey and 608 being selected for analysis.

Among those included in the analysis, more than half of patients were male (57.9%), and most were White (91.4%).

The data showed that most patients were diagnosed with vitiligo between 20-29 years (39%) or between 30-39 years (34.9%). Additionally, most patients noted a family history of vitiligo (71.4%).

Regarding diagnosis, nearly two-thirds of patients (63.8%) were diagnosed in a dermatology-focused medical practice compared while 34.5% were diagnosed in a primary care physician (PCP) medical practice.

A total of 223 patients (36.7%) were previously misdiagnosed, and patients first diagnosed by a PCP were more likely to be misdiagnosed. Skin damage (32.3%) and eczema (30.9%) were the most common misdiagnoses.

Nearly all patients included in the analysis (95.9%) reported using ≥1 prescription or nonprescription product for management of vitiligo.

Currently, there are no approved therapies for the treatment of vitiligo. Though an approval for ruxolitinib cream seems imminent, the US Food and Drug Administration delayed the decision on the supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA), extending the decision date to July of this year.

In an interview with HCPLive from AAD, prominent vitiligo researcher and lead study investigator John E. Harris, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology at UMass Chan Medical School, spoke of the delay for the long-awaited FDA approval.

“The drug has already been approved for atopic dermatitis, so the assumption would be, ‘Well they already approved it, so what do you need to review at this point?’,” Harris said. “There’s always a question whether patients with different diseases will react differently to the same drug, and sometimes the FDA wants to consider what’s the disease that we’re targeting, and balance the benefit with the potential safety issues and do that with each disease.”

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