What is the role of lab testing in the diagnosis of acanthosis nigricans (AN)?

Updated: Oct 14, 2020
  • Author: Jason H Miller, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

In middle-aged and older patients with extensive skin or severe skin and mucosal findings, a workup for internal malignancy is indicated.

The vast majority of cases are due to obesity and/or insulin resistance. Screen for diabetes with a glycosylated hemoglobin level or glucose tolerance test.

Screen for insulin resistance; a good screening test for insulin resistance is a plasma insulin level, which will be high in those with insulin resistance. This is the most sensitive test to detect a metabolic abnormality of this kind because many younger patients do not yet have overt diabetes mellitus and an abnormal glycosylated hemoglobin level, but they do have a high plasma insulin level.


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