Wilhelm Lutz (1888-1958) was a Swiss dermatologist

Professor and Head of the Department of Dermatology and Venereology at the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland

  • Born on November 4, 1888 in Basel
  • 1912 – MD, University of Basel
  • Trained under Ernst Hedinger (1873-1924) in pathology and Josef Jadassohn (1863-1936) in dermatology; assistant at the University Skin Clinic in Basel, then later Oberarzt
  • 1922 – Associate professor in dermatology following the untimely death of Professor Felix Lewandowsky (1879-1921)
  • 1937 – Professor and chairman of the newly created chair of dermatology and venereology of the University of Basel.
  • Died on September 8, 1958

Medical Eponyms
Lewandowsky-Lutz dysplasia (1922)

Known as epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV), Treeman syndrome and Lewandowsky-Lutz syndrome – an extremely rare inherited disorder in which there is widespread and persistent infection with human papilloma virus, a defect in cell-mediated immunity and consequent propensity for malignant transformation.

The disease was first described in 1922 by Lutz and Felix Lewandowsky (1879-1921) and Lutz a condition they called Epidermodysplasia verruciformis.

Lewandowsky and Lutz dysplasia is usually inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Acquired cases exist (“Acquired epidermodysplasia verruciformis”), which may result from immunocompromise i.e. HIV infection, organ transplantation or cancer.

The disease usually presents in a generalised nature with multiple lesions resembling pityriasis versicolour or thicker lesions resembling seborrheic keratosis. It is associated with a risk of malignant transformation, particularly squamous cell carcinoma or Bowen carcinoma, with sun exposure.

Lewandowsky-Lutz dysplasia (1922) 2

Lutz-Miescher syndrome (1953)

Erythematous keratotic papules (2-5 mm diameter), with small central scaling arranged in diffuse, serpiginous, or circular pattern; satellite lesions usually appear. Usually symmetric distribution on the neck and forearms.

Prevalent in males usually aged <30 years of age (90% of cases). Aetiology unknown. Familial incidence has been reported, and may be autosomal dominant.

Association with van der Hoeve’s syndrome, Grönblad-Strandberg syndrome, Marfan syndrome, Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and Down syndrome.

daß sich im Lauf von etwa acht Jahren Herde an beiden Halsseiten entwickelt hätten, die allmählich größer geworden seien, ohne daß er bis jetzt deswegen einen Arzt aufgesucht hätte. An der linken Halsseite findet sich ein größerer, an der rechten finden sieh mehrere kleinere Herde, alle vom selben Aufbau. Sie zeigen einen sehr deutlich ausgeprägten erhabenen serpiginösen leistenartigen peripheren Wall und ein m it einer leichten Atrophie abgeheiltes Zentrum, in dem mehrfach die Follikel noch als kleine Papelchcn hervortreten. Der Randwall besteht aus einzelnen dicht nebeneinander liegenden keratotischen Knötchen. Stellenweise ist der pathologische Prozeß spontan zum Stillstand gekommen, wie dies besonders deutlich an der Begrenzung des breiten an der linken Halsseite weit nach hinten ziehenden geheilten Streifens gut erkennbar ist (Abb. 5 und 6).

…in the course of about eight years, lesions had developed on both sides of the neck, which had gradually increased in size, without him ever having consulted a doctor about them. There is a larger one on the left side of the neck and several smaller ones on the right side, all of the same structure. They show a very clearly pronounced, raised, serpiginous, ridge-like peripheral wall and a center that has healed with a slight atrophy, in which the follicles are still protruding as small papules.

The rim wall consists of individual keratotic nodules lying close together. In places the pathological process has come to a spontaneous standstill, as can be seen particularly clearly from the border of the wide, healed stripe that runs far back on the left side of the neck (Figs. 5 and 6).

Lutz 1953

Lutz-Miescher syndrome (1953)
Lutz-Miescher syndrome (Lutz 1953)
Lutz-Miescher syndrome (Miescher 1955)
Lutz-Miescher syndrome (Miescher 1955)

Lutz sign (Asboe-Hansen sign)(1957)

In 1957 (the year before Asboe-Hansen), Lutz described the blister-spread sign in pemphigus vulgaris chronicus

…if one carefully presses upon a blister, it will enlarge within the epidermis in direction of the periphery due to mechanical pressure of the blister fluid in the acantholytic epidermis

…if carefully rubbed on an uninvolved area of skin, the superficial layers of the skin will move and a blister will form after some time (Nikolsky phenomenon).”

Lutz 1957

Major Publications



Eponymous terms

Lewandowsky-Lutz dysplasia

Lutz-Miescher syndrome

Cite this article as: Tatiana Ninkov and Mike Cadogan, "Wilhelm Lutz," In: LITFL - Life in the FastLane, Accessed on August 11, 2022, https://litfl.com/wilhelm-lutz/.


the person behind the name

BSc, MD from University of Western Australia. Junior Doctor currently working at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital with an interest in Dermatology and Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

Associate Professor Curtin Medical School, Curtin University. Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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