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Treatment and prognosis of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

Sumaira Z Aasi, MD
Section Editors
Robert S Stern, MD
June K Robinson, MD
Deputy Editor
Rosamaria Corona, MD, DSc


Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a common cancer arising from malignant proliferation of the keratinocytes of the epidermis. Treatment of cutaneous SCC is indicated since progression of the tumor may lead to local tissue destruction or metastasis resulting in significant morbidity or death. Early treatment provides the best opportunity to cure cutaneous SCC.

In contrast to basal cell carcinoma (BCC), which rarely metastasizes, around 2 to 5 percent of cutaneous SCCs metastasize to regional lymph nodes or more distant sites [1-3]. The approach to treatment is dependent upon the presence or absence of tumor features and patient characteristics that portend an increased risk for aggressive tumor behavior. Cutaneous SCCs that do not have high-risk features have low frequencies of recurrence and metastasis.

The treatment of cutaneous SCCs without features associated with aggressive behavior (low-risk cutaneous SCC) and the prognosis of cutaneous SCC will be reviewed here. The management of high-risk and metastatic cutaneous SCCs, the treatment of keratoacanthomas, and the risk factors, clinical features, and diagnosis of cutaneous SCC are reviewed separately.

(See "Recognition and management of high-risk (aggressive) cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma".)

(See "Systemic treatment of advanced cutaneous squamous and basal cell carcinomas".)

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Mar 09, 2017.
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