Vitiligo is frequently treated with the combination of phototherapy and melanocyte transplantation. However, the additional benefit of phototherapy is unclear. Moreover, the optimal type and regimen of phototherapy are unknown. The objective of this systematic review was to identify whether phototherapy improves the outcome of melanocyte transplantation in vitiligo. We searched and screened for eligible studies in the databases of MEDLINE, EMBASE and CENTRAL. We included all clinical studies investigating melanocyte transplantation combined with phototherapy. After screening and selection of abstracts and full-texts, we found 39 eligible clinical studies with 1624 patients. The eligible studies investigated several phototherapy modalities, such as NBUVB (n = 9), PUVA (n = 19), UVA (n = 1), MEL (n = 4) and active sunlight exposure (n = 9). Four studies directly compared phototherapy versus no phototherapy and two studies confirmed the benefit of phototherapy for melanocyte transplantation. We found no significant differences in repigmentation in studies directly comparing phototherapy modalities. The overall quality of the studies was moderate to poor and high heterogeneity between studies was found. We found limited evidence that phototherapy improves the outcome of melanocyte transplantation in vitiligo. There is insufficient evidence to recommend a specific type or regimen of phototherapy. More studies should be performed investigating the additional benefit of different phototherapies and the preferred moment of phototherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1427-1435
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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