Lower extremity SCCs made up clinically distinct SCC subset

Lower extremity squamous cell carcinomas have distinctive clinical features that represent a specific subset of squamous cell carcinomas, occurring mostly in women, according to recent study results.

Using medical records, researchers in the dermatology and pathology departments of Yale University identified 22 patients (mean age, 80.5 years; 82% women) with four or more cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) on the lower extremity (LE), diagnosed by biopsy between Jan. 1, 2008 and June 30, 2012.

The patients developed 360 SCCs, with 260 (72.2%) located on the LE, including 211 on the leg, 19 on the thigh, 17 on the knee and 13 on the ankle and foot. They also displayed 74 SCCs in situ (44.6% on the LE).

Researchers said the cohort had 54 basal cell carcinomas (BCCs; 20.4% on the LE), indicating that patients experienced nearly seven times the incidence of SCCs than that of BCCs.

“Our patients have patterns of skin cancer presentation that deviate in some important ways from data already published,” the researchers concluded. “SCCs are more than six times more common than BCCs in our patients, a complete reversal of the pattern in the population at large; SCCs in the current study show much greater tendency to occur on the LE than BCCs.

“Further study is under way to determine the genotypic characteristics of the LE SCCs both within the particular patient and across the patient population. Analysis of the biology of local immune function may also help explain the cause and behavior of LE SCCs.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.