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Tumori. 2006 Jan-Feb;92(1):79-82.

HPV 6-positive giant keratoacanthoma in an immunocompetent patient.

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Department of Dermatovenerology, Clinical Hospital Center, Rijeka, Croatia.


Keratoacanthoma (KA) is a clinically distinct, rapidly growing lesion that generally presents as a solitary crateriform nodule in sun-exposed areas in elderly, fair-skinned individuals. A KA larger than 20-30 mm is referred to as giant keratoacanthoma, a relatively rare lesion especially in young patients. Such lesions grow rapidly with possible destruction of underlying tissues. In addition to ultraviolet exposure, KAs have also been associated with chemical carcinogens, chemical peels, genetic factors, chronic skin conditions that produce scarring, trauma and thermal burns. Immunosuppressed patients, especially after transplantation, also develop KAs. A viral etiology has been suggested but not confirmed. We encountered a case of giant keratoacanthoma (greater than 50 mm in diameter) with induration of underlying structures on the upper lip of a 39-year-old male sailor. The patient reported sudden appearance and rapid enlargement of the lesion in only three weeks. Biopsy of the cutaneous lesion and the characteristic clinical history suggested the diagnosis of keratoacanthoma. Total excision with primary closure of the defect by a nasolabial advancement flap was performed. Histological examination of the tumor mass confirmed the diagnosis of KA with infiltrative growth and perineural invasion. Immunosuppression was excluded by blood analyses, as were HIV, syphilis and hepatitis infections. Only low-risk genital HPV type 6 was detected in the lesion, suggesting a possible cocarcinogenic effect of HPV and UV light in a chronically sun-exposed patient.

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