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Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2018 Feb;145(2):83-88. doi: 10.1016/j.annder.2017.10.010. Epub 2017 Nov 15.

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) associated with cosmetic skin whitening: 8 cases reported in Senegal.

Author information

1
Dermatology unit, EPS, Institut d'Hygiene Sociale de Dakar, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Dakar, Senegal. Electronic address: lyfaty@yahoo.fr.
2
Dermatology unit, UFR SS, Université de Thiès, Thiès, Senegal.
3
Dermatology unit, EPS, Institut d'Hygiene Sociale de Dakar, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Dakar, Senegal.
4
Institut Juliot Curie, CHU A. le Dantec, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Dakar, Senegal.
5
Dermatology unit, CHU A. le Dantec, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Dakar, Senegal.
6
UFR Sciences de la Santé, Université Gaston Berger St Louis, St Louis, Senegal.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The cosmetic use of bleaching products is common among women from sub-Saharan Africa. The most frequently used products are highly potent corticosteroids (clobetasol propionate) and hydroquinone. Herein, we report 8 cases of SCC in women using skin bleaching products for cosmetic purposes. Our aim is to describe the epidemiological, clinical and pathological aspects of the carcinomas observed during the course of skin lightening.

METHODS:

We conducted a descriptive multicentre study from August 2005 to January 2016 in three dermatology units in Senegal. We included all patients consulting for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma associated with skin bleaching. Sociodemographic, clinical, paraclinical and therapeutic data were recorded.

RESULTS:

A total of 8 female patients were included. The mean age was 48.1 years (37-63 years). Topical hydroquinone and highly potent corticosteroids were the main products used over the whole body, for an average duration of 20.3 years. No pre-neoplastic skin disease was found in our patients. The clinical aspects of tumours were as follows: cauliflower-like (n=4), ulcerated (n=3) and nodular (n=1). The average development time before consultation was 6.75 months. All the cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas were localized to lichenoid lesions or exogenous ochronotic lesions on photo-exposed areas: face (n=1), neck (n=3) or upper back (n=4). The most common histopathological type was the infiltrating form and there was one case of in situ carcinoma. The outcome was favourable in six of eight patients after surgical resection. Two deaths occurred: one through tumour recurrence and the other through haemorrhagic shock.

CONCLUSIONS:

From 2005 to 2016, eight cases of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas associated with cosmetic use of bleaching products were reported in Senegal. The mechanism was not fully elucidated and further studies are necessary. These observations provide an additional argument for combating this practice and including skin bleaching among known risk factors for squamous cell carcinoma.

KEYWORDS:

Carcinome épidermoïde; Clobetasol propionate; Dépigmentation cosmétique volontaire; Hydroquinone; Propionate de clobétasol; Skin bleaching; Squamous cell carcinoma

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