What are the disadvantages of electrodessication and curettage (ED&C) for the treatment of 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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The thick scars that often occur after ED&C can delay the diagnosis of cancer recurrence. Consequently, ED&C should be used with caution in invasive cSCC. The procedure is not appropriate for certain anatomic locations (ie, eyelids, genitalia, lips, ears).

The main disadvantage of ED&C is that no specimen is available for margin evaluation, and most dermatologic surgeons believe the actual long-term cure rate for invasive SCC is much lower than that quoted in the literature. Nevertheless, the 5-year cure rates for small primary cSCC may be as high as 96%. Cure rates for high-risk tumors are much lower, although no well-controlled, prospective studies have been performed.

Tumor recurrence may result from failure of ED&C treatment to eradicate atypical cells residing deep in the hair follicles or in the dermis. Nonetheless, the procedure is fast, minimally invasive, well tolerated, and effective for properly selected lesions.

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