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Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma - Anogenital in
See also in: Overview,Hair and Scalp,Nail and Distal Digit
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma - Anogenital in

See also in: Overview,Hair and Scalp,Nail and Distal Digit
Contributors: MacKenzie Griffith, Casey P. Schukow DO, Gaurav Singh MD, MPH, Belinda Tan MD, PhD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a keratinocyte-derived carcinoma that occurs most frequently on sun-exposed areas such as the face and hands. However, SCC may also occur on the female genitalia of older patients. It is the most common vulvar neoplasm and accounts for 85%-95% of vulvar cancers, which have an annual incidence and mortality of 6000 and 1200 cases in the United States, respectively. Anal cancer, of which SCC comprises a majority, newly afflicts 5600 women and is fatal in another 700 each year in the United States.

Almost one-third of patients with vulvar tumors present with locally advanced disease, usually resulting from late presentation due to older age, lack of access to medical care, or perceived embarrassment regarding tumor location. Late-stage tumors are more difficult to treat and may require radical surgical intervention.

The clinical presentation is variable. SCC often presents as a hyperkeratotic papule or nodule that may ulcerate, but it may also be smooth, plaque-like, exophytic, or papillomatous. Lesions are often red to skin colored. Secondary changes such as scale, crust, erosion, and ulceration may be present. The progression of lesions over time varies. Some enlarge slowly, while others progress rapidly to grow, infiltrate deeper tissue, and metastasize. Pain and tenderness can be present. Anal carcinomas may also present with rectal bleeding and a sensation of an object in the rectum.

The pathogenesis of SCC is multifactorial. It may evolve from intraepithelial neoplasia (including vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia or anal intraepithelial neoplasia) or arise de novo. TP53 gene mutations have been implicated. Any repetitive trauma or insult increases the risk of SCC. Additional risk factors for anogenital SCC include smoking, sexually transmitted infections, HIV infection, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, poor genital hygiene, anogenital injury, lichen sclerosus, and erosive lichen planus.

Women who engage in receptive anal intercourse and women with immunocompromised states such as HIV should undergo regular anal Papanicolaou (Pap) screening tests.

Related topics: bowenoid papulosis, squamous cell carcinoma in situ


C44.92 – Squamous cell carcinoma of skin, unspecified

402815007 – Squamous cell carcinoma

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Squamous cell carcinoma in situ
  • Nodular basal cell carcinoma
  • Common wart
  • Genital wart
  • Keratoacanthoma
  • Eccrine poroma
  • Lobular capillary hemangioma (pyogenic granuloma)
  • Amelanotic melanoma
  • Sporotrichosis
  • Mycobacterium marinum infection
  • Nummular dermatitis
  • Irritated Seborrheic keratosis
  • Chronic draining or ulcerative lesions
  • Lichen planus
  • Lichen sclerosus
  • Granuloma inguinale
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum
  • Secondary syphilis
  • Prurigo nodularis
  • Bowenoid papulosis
  • Microcystic adnexal carcinoma
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans
  • Cutaneous leiomyosarcoma
  • Extramammary Paget disease
  • Epithelioid sarcoma
  • Psoriasis
  • Lichen simplex chronicus
  • Basosquamous carcinoma of skin

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Reviewed:02/21/2023
Last Updated:04/09/2023
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Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma - Anogenital in
See also in: Overview,Hair and Scalp,Nail and Distal Digit
A medical illustration showing key findings of Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (General) : Sun-exposed distribution
Clinical image of Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma - imageId=178723. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'An eroded nodule on the posterior pinna.'
An eroded nodule on the posterior pinna.
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