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August 1959

Bowen's Disease and Its Relationship to Systemic Cancer

Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

From the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(2):133-159. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560200001001


In this paper we shall report a previously unrecognized association of Bowen's disease of the skin with primary internal cancer.

Bowen,1 in 1912, described two patients with atypical epithelial proliferation of the skin. Each patient had a chronic solitary lesion composed of lenticular papules resembling a noduloulcerative syphiloderm.

Darier,2 in 1914, Bowen,3 in 1915, and, more recently, Fraser4 described multiple, nonelevated, scaly or crusted plaques as a variety of Bowen's disease. Histologically, these lesions were indistinguishable from those reported originally by Bowen.

Since Bowen's original description, many similar lesions have been recorded. Furthermore, the concept has been broadened by some investigators to include sites other than the skin, such as the oral cavity, anus, eye, genital organs, and genitourinary tract. We shall record our experience and observations of a large group of patients with Bowen's disease of the skin which meet the criteria