Seborrheic keratosis (SK) is an extraordinarily common benign skin tumor in adults, often either left untreated or removed through cryosurgery without histologic confirmation of the diagnosis. In this study, Izikson et al estimate the prevalence of malignant melanoma in lesions clinically resembling SK and submitted for histologic examination. The observation that 0.66% of specimens clinically resembling SK were found to be malignant melanomas supports the need for histopathologic review of such specimens to ensure that life-threatening diagnoses are not missed.
Acne vulgaris is common in the United States, among adolescents as well as adults. The medical literature has suggested that the prevalence of acne in nonindustrialized societies is lower than in westernized populations. In this report, Cordain et al describe the absence of acne vulgaris in 2 nonwesternized populations and hypothesize as to how genetic and environmental factors may operate to prevent acne.
Dermoscopy is a simple, noninvasive examination method that has been described as a useful tool in the early diagnosis of malignant melanoma. Although the clinical diagnosis of SK is often easily accomplished, occasionally the clinical differential diagnosis between pigmented SK and malignant melanoma proves more difficult. In this observational study, Braun et al describe the dermoscopic morphology of SK and define the criteria that may improve the clinical diagnostic accuracy for this benign skin tumor.
Hemangiomas of infancy are the most common benign tumors in children, and they cause significant problems in only a minority of cases. Recognizing which hemangiomas need vigilant observation or intervention remains a challenge. More than half of these hemangiomas involve the head and neck, and their distribution does not appear to be random. In this large-scale retrospective study, Chiller et al demonstrate that segmental hemangiomas are associated with greater morbidity than localized lesions.
Escharotic pastes and caustic agents have been promoted for the treatment of skin disease for hundreds of years. Such remedies have largely been abandoned because of adverse effects and lack of proven efficacy. Recently, ready availability through mail order as well as extensive Internet marketing have fueled a renewed interest in these agents for the treatment of skin cancer. McDaniel and Goldman describe the unfortunate clinical outcomes of 4 patients who elected to treat their nonmelanoma skin cancers with escharotic agents.
This Month in Archives of Dermatology. Arch Dermatol. 2002;138(12):1542. doi:10.1001/archderm.138.12.1542