What is a precursor to invasive cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC)?

Updated: Jul 08, 2020
  • Author: Talib Najjar, DMD, MDS, PhD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Squamous cell carcinoma in situ (CIS), sometimes referred to as Bowen disease, is a precursor to invasive cSCC. Characteristics of this lesion include nuclear atypia, frequent mitoses, cellular pleomorphism, and dyskeratosis, parakeratosis, and hyperkeratosis.

CIS is differentiated from actinic keratosis, a similar precancerous skin lesion, by the full-thickness involvement of the epidermis in CIS. Invasive cSCC is differentiated from CIS and actinic keratosis by the invasion of the basement membrane by malignant-appearing cells. With invasive cSCC, nests of atypical cells are found within the dermis, surrounded by an inflammatory infiltrate.


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