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Dermatol Surg. 2002 Jul;28(7):623-31.

Sebaceous carcinoma of the eyelids treated by mohs micrographic surgery: report of nine cases with review of the literature.

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  • 1Division of Plastic Surgery and Oculoplastics Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine, Madison, Wisconsin 53717, USA.



Ocular sebaceous carcinoma (SC) is a rare tumor of the eyelids. Clinically it frequently involves the upper lid in older women. Microscopically it tends to extend far beyond its assessed clinical margins. SC is characterized by a variety of tissue invasion mechanisms. It may spread by direct extension, be multifocal in advanced cases, and develop "skip areas" after trauma. Despite its ability to develop discontinuity, over the past two decades there have been several favorable case reports of SC treated by Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS).


To illustrate by case report the clinical presentation and management of patients with SC and to document our series of SC patients treated by MMS over the last 14 years.


A retrospective study was conducted of all cases of sebaceous carcinoma involving the ocular adnexa treated at the University of Wisconsin Mohs Surgery Clinic from 1987 to 2001. We also reviewed the accumulated medical literature of SC treated by MMS.


In our series, there were nine cases of periocular SC. Five cases originated on the upper lid and four on the lower lid. Five of nine patients (55%) showed epithelial invasion. One patient developed a local recurrence 1.5 years later and was treated by orbital exenteration. This patient has had no evidence of disease for 5 years. Eight of nine patients (88%) had no evidence of local recurrence with a follow-up of 1-14 years. In our literature review we found 40 additional cases of orbital SC treated by MMS. Intraepithelial spread of SC was found in 50% of patients (24 of 48). Six patients developed local recurrence. The overall local cure rate following MMS is 87.8% (43 of 49), with a mean follow-up of 3.1 years. The regional metastatic rate was 8% (4 of 49). There were no deaths reported.


We present nine new cases of SC. The age, sex, and site distribution are compatible with other SC cases reported in the literature. We reviewed the medical literature and compiled 49 cases of SC treated by Mohs surgery. Intraepithelial spread was discovered in 50% of the cases. Multifocal disease or discontinuity was present in 6% (3 of 49). Mohs surgery appears to be an effective method for excising the microscopic ramifications of primary SC. When feasible, we recommend in SC cases where intraepithelial pagetoid spread has been observed, that removal of another Mohs layer should be considered in order to provide an additional assurance layer against local tumor recurrence.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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