Helene Ollendorff Curth (1899 – 1982) was a German-American dermatologist.
One of the first female pioneers in academic dermatology and the study of genodermatoses and to have eponymous syndromes in her maiden and married names. Eponymous terms include Ollendorf probe sign (1923); Buschke-Ollendorff syndrome (1928); Curth-Macklin syndrome (1954); and the Curth criteria for the diagnosis of cutaneous paraneoplastic syndromes (1976)
- Born 18 February 1899 as Helene Ollendorff in Breslau, Germany
- Married Dr. William Curth taking the Curth surname, whilst retaining her own as an unhyphenated forename Helene Ollendorff Curth (H. O. Curth)
- Died 1982
Ollendorf probe sign (1923)
Buschke-Ollendorff syndrome (1928)
Autosomal dominant connective tissue disorder manifest by multiple subcutaneous nevi or firm, nontender nodules. On histologic examination the lesions may be elastin-rich (elastoma) or collagen-rich (dermatofibrosis lenticularis disseminata. Affected individuals also have osteopoikilosis (OPK) – ‘spotted bones,’ with osteosclerotic foci found in the epiphyses and metaphyses of the long bones, wrist, foot, ankle, pelvis, and scapula.
[aka disseminated lenticular dermatofibrosis; Dermatofibrosis lenticularis disseminata with osteopoikilosis; Dermatofibrosis, disseminated with osteopoikilosis; Dermatoosteopoikilosis; Osteopathia condensans disseminata]
Abraham Buschke (1868-1943) and Ollendorff reported a case with involvement of skeletal musculature in a 41 year old woman in 1928.
The posthumous eponymous term Buschke-Ollendorff was introduced by Schimpf et al in 1979.
Curth-Macklin syndrome (1954)
In 1954, Madge Thurlow Macklin (1893–1962) and Helene Ollendorff Curth (1899-1982) reported, a form of ichthyosis hystrix a rare congenital genodermatosis. Autosomal dominant skin disorder characterized by extensive hyperkeratosis and palmo-plantar keratoderma. [aka Ichthyosis hystrix of Curth-Macklin (IHCM)]
In 1952, Curth examined on Long Island, New York, two probands suffering from widespread ichthyosis hystrix of a family of English origin. The results of this clinical examination together with a genetic analysis by Macklin were published in 1954
…we are justified in assuming that our cases, clinically as well as histologically and ultrastructurally, represent a special form among the various forms of inherited ichthyoses and thus must be regarded as an independent nosological entity. In designating this type we prefer the term “Ichthyosis hystrix type Curth-Macklin”.Curth 1972
Curth’s criteria for the diagnosis of cutaneous paraneoplastic syndromes (1976)
Curth studied acanthosis nigricans in considerable depth. She proposed criteria to assess the causal relationship between dermatological change and potential underlying malignancy. Requirements included:
- both conditions start at the same time,
- both conditions follow a parallel course,
- the condition is not recognized as part of a genetic syndrome,
- a specific tumor occurs with a certain dermatosis,
- the dermatosis is not common, and
- a high percentage of the association is noted.
Key Medical Contributions
- Buschke A, Ollendorff H. Ein Fall von Dermatofibrosis lenticularis und osteopathia condensans disseminata. Dermatologische Wochenschrift. 1928; 86: 257-262. [Buschke-Ollendorff syndrome]
- Curth HO. Dermatofibrosis lenticularis disseminata and osteopoikilosis. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1934; 30(4): 552-560 [Buschke-Ollendorff syndrome]
- Curth HO. Acanthosis nigricans and its association with cancer. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1948;57(2):158-170.
- Curth HO. Significance of acanthosis nigricans. AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1952;66(1):80-100.
- Curth HO, Macklin MT. The genetic basis of various types of ichthyosis in a family group. Am J Hum Genet. 1954; 6(4): 371-382. [Curth-Macklin syndrome]
- Curth HO. Dermatoses and malignant internal tumors. AMA Arch Derm. 1955;71(1):95-107.
- Curth HO. Malignant acanthosis nigricans. Arch Dermatol. 1970;102(4):479-481.
- Ollendorff-Curth H, Allen FH Jr, Schnyder UW, Anton-Lamprecht I. Follow-up of a family group suffering from ichthyosis hystrix type Curth-Macklin. Humangenetik. 1972; 17(1): 37-48.
- Curth HO. Skin lesions and internal carcinoma. In: Andrade R, editor. Cancer of the Skin: Biology, Diagnosis, Management. 1976: 1308–41
- Albers-Schönberg. Fortschritte auf dem Gebiete der Röntgenstrahlen. 1915; 23: 174
- Schimpf A, Roth W, Kopper J. Dermatofibrosis lenticularis disseminata mit Ostepoikilie. Buschke-Ollendorff-Syndrome. Dermatologica, 1979; 141: 409-420.
- Burgdorf WH, Scholz A. Helen Ollendorff Curth and William Curth: from Breslau and Berlin to Bar Harbor. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004;51(1):84-89.
- Pipkin CA, Lio PA. Cutaneous manifestations of internal malignancies: an overview. Dermatol Clin. 2008;26(1):1-vii.
- Burgdorf WH, Hoenig LJ. A female pioneer–doubly recognized. JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(5):527.
- Bader E, Shipman AR. The women behind the names: Dermatology eponyms named after women. Int J Womens Dermatol. 2017;3(1 Suppl):S38-S41
- Guzman AK, James WD. Helen Ollendorff Curth: A dermatologist’s lasting legacy. Int J Womens Dermatol. 2017;3(1 Suppl):S70-S74
- Beighton P, Beighton G. Helene Ollendorff. In: The Person Behind the Syndrome. Springer 1996: 124-125
- Bibliography. Ollendorff Curth, Helen. WorldCat Identities
the person behind the name