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J Cutan Med Surg. 2002 May-Jun;6(3):207-9. Epub 2002 Apr 15.

The majority of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas arise in actinic keratoses.

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  • 1The Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre, Heidelberg, Australia.



Retrospective studies have given conflicting results with respect to how many cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) arise in actinic keratoses (AK).


This study was conducted to determine what percentage of SCCs arise in AKs and to obtain more information about two histological features of SCCs, namely, thickness and ulceration.


A prospective study was done of all SCCs treated by the authors during one calendar year.


Two hundred eight patients with SCC were entered into the study. An AK was contiguous with an SCC in 72% of the cases. This was taken as evidence that the SCC arose in the AK. Men presented with thicker and more ulcerated SCCs than women, but these were not statistically significant: p = 0.06 for thickness and p = 0.07 for ulceration. Ulcerated SCCs were more likely to arise on the head and neck (p = 0.02), on patients who had multiple skin cancers (p = 0.005), and on patients who had a family history of skin cancer (p = 0.03).


Actinic keratoses need to be removed before they turn into SCCs. The prognostic significance of ulceration of cutaneous SCCs needs to be determined.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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