What is a cutaneous horn?

Updated: Jan 30, 2020
  • Author: Ginard I Henry, MD; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
  • Print


A cutaneous horn, or cornu cutaneum, is a skin lesion made of compacted keratin that forms an exophytic conical projection that becomes curved and resembles a French horn. Patients with cutaneous horns tend to be fair-skinned individuals in their 60s and 70s. This lesion is a clinical finding related to other skin disorders but is not its own unique pathologic entity. Cutaneous horns can arise from other hyperkeratotic lesions, such as actinic keratoses, seborrheic keratoses, benign verrucae, inverted follicular keratoses, and squamous cell carcinomas. Although most cutaneous horns are benign, malignant lesions have been reported to be found at the base of 20% of horns. The most common malignancy is squamous cell carcinoma.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!