Background: Rosacea-like papulopustular eruptions (rash) are considered the most frequent toxicities associated with the use of inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Recently, evidence has been accumulating of infectious complications in patients suffering from these adverse effects. Objective: We sought to analyze the density of Demodex folliculorum (DF) in cutaneous lesions of patients presenting with EGFR-inhibitor (EGFRI)-induced rashes. Methods: This is a retrospective study of 19 adult patients presenting with EGFRI rashes. Patients were reviewed for the density of DF (Demodex density, Dd; mites per square centimeter) by standardized skin surface biopsy. Results: In our patient collective the mean Dd of 4.7/cm2 significantly exceeded the mean Dd reported for the healthy adult population (Dd = 0.7/cm2). Limitations: The retrospective nature of the study. Conclusions: EGFRI patients have an increased susceptibility to DF colonization or infection, respectively. Our results support the recent concept that EGFRI may induce an impairment of antimicrobial defense mechanisms.

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