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World J Surg Oncol. 2013 Dec 17;11:313. doi: 10.1186/1477-7819-11-313.

Marjolin's ulcer: a preventable malignancy arising from scars.

Author information

1
Division of Plastic Surgery, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Peking Union Medical College and Chinese Academy of Medical Science, No,1 Shuaifuyuan, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100730, China. zhaorupumc@126.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Marjolin's ulcer (MU) is a rare malignancy arising from various forms of scars. This potentially fatal complication typically occurs after a certain latency period. This article attempts to reveal the importance of the latency period in the prevention and early treatment of the malignancy.

METHODS:

A retrospective review of 17 MU patients who underwent surgical procedures between June of 2005 and December 2011 was conducted. Etiology of injuries, latency period, repeated ulceration, and outcomes were recorded. This observational report reveals characteristics of patients who develop MU.

RESULTS:

An incidence of 0.7% of MU was found amongst patients complaining of existing scars in our study; burns and trauma were the most common etiology of MU. The mean latency period was 29 years (SD = 19) and the mean post-ulceration period was 7 years (SD = 9). Statistical analysis revealed a negative correlation between the age of patients at injury and the length of latency period (r = -0.8, P <0.01), as well as the lengths of pre-ulceration and post-ulceration periods (r = -0.7, P <0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients experience different lengths of pre- and post-ulceration periods during the latency period. Younger patients tend to have a longer latency period. Skin breakdown on chronic scars and chronic unhealed ulcers are two main sources of MU. MU may be preventable with a close surveillance of the ulcer during the latency period.

PMID:
24341890
PMCID:
PMC3896958
DOI:
10.1186/1477-7819-11-313
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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