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F1000Res. 2019 Aug 28;8. pii: F1000 Faculty Rev-1520. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.18983.1. eCollection 2019.

Recent advances in managing and understanding seborrheic keratosis.

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Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Städtisches Klinikum Dresden, Dresden, 01067, Germany.


Seborrheic keratosis (SK) is a common benign epidermal tumor with predominance in adult patients. Whereas common SKs are more frequent in Caucasians, dermatosis papulosa nigra is more prevalent in patients with a Fitzpatrick skin type of at least 3. There seems to be a link between extrinsic skin aging and the occurrence of SK. Mutations of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 and other signaling molecules are a frequent finding in SK lesions. However, this does not translate into any malignant potential. Viral infections are particularly common in genital lesions, although their pathogenetic relevance for SK is questionable. Different histologic and clinical subtypes have been identified. The great variability of SKs raises some difficulties in diagnosis. Dermoscopy is the preferred non-invasive diagnostic method, in particular to differentiate pigmented SKs from other pigment tumors, including cutaneous melanoma. Eruptive SKs can be a paraneoplastic condition known as the Leser-Trélat sign. New targeted cancer treatments can cause a pseudo-Leser-Trélat sign. The treatment in practice is mainly minor surgery, including cryosurgery, shave excisions, and laser-assisted removal. The medical approaches have only limited effects. Recently, two formulations for topical therapy have been evaluated: a product with 40% hydrogen peroxide (HP40) and an aqueous nitric-zinc complex. Based on clinical trials, HP40 seems to be a promising alternative to surgery, in particular for facial lesions.


Seborrheic keratosis; diagnosis; pathogenesis; treatment

Conflict of interest statement

No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.

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