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June 1961

Keratosis Senilis with Epidermal Splits: Its Resemblance to Darier's Disease and Its Probable Significance

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology (Dr. Rudolf L. Baer, Acting Chairman) of the New York University Post-Graduate Medical School and the Skin and Cancer Unit of the New York University Hospital.

Arch Dermatol. 1961;83(6):951-955. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580120063015

During the last 30 years considerable clarification, simplification, and differentiation of the various types of epidermal tumors have been accomplished, especially with reference to the various types of keratoses.1-7 Of particular importance was the separation of senile keratosis from verucca senilis (basal-cell papilloma or keratosis seborrheica).9-11 This differentiation was necessary because senile keratosis is a precancerous lesion with a malignancy potential between 20% to 25%.1,2 When carcinoma develops in a senile keratosis, 90% of these growths are of the squamous-cell type, and 10% are of the basal-cell variety.12 In contrast, less than 2% of the seborrheic keratoses develop malignant changes, and then only when subjected to prolonged trauma and irritation.2

The increase in the human lifespan is associated with an increase in senile changes of the skin. The current vogue of "sun worshipping" has accentuated this change with its resultant chronic actinic ray effect.8

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