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Dermatology. 2008;216(1):76-80.

Azo pigments and a basal cell carcinoma at the thumb.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


Basal cell carcinoma is the most common malignant neoplasm of the skin, whereas the localization at the nail unit is very rare. We report the case of a 58-year-old patient with a periungual basal cell carcinoma at the thumb. The specific feature of the reported case is the frequent exposure to fishing baits that the patient had stained with an unknown colorant. The use of chromatography, mass spectrometry and infrared spectroscopy revealed the colorant as the azo pigment Solvent Red 8. Solvent Red 8 is a widespread synthetic azo pigment that is applied to stain consumer products. Compounds such as Solvent Red 8 can be cleaved to carcinogenic amines under, for example, light exposure, in particular after incorporation into the human body. As a result of the frequent skin contact to this azo pigment, this hazard compound might have induced the basal cell carcinoma in our patient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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