Squamous cell skin cancers deadly for some patients

May 20, 2013

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas typically are easily cured with surgery or ablation, but in certain patients with disease risk factors, the cancer can result in death, according to study findings.

 

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas typically are easily cured with surgery or ablation, but in certain patients with disease risk factors, the cancer can result in death, according to study findings.

Investigators with Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., reviewed cases of 1,832 squamous cell carcinoma tumors among 985 patients in a 10-year retrospective study. Among the patients, 3.7 percent developed nodal metastases and 2.1 percent died as a result of the disease, according to the study abstract.

The independent predictors for nodal metastasis and disease-specific death included a tumor diameter of at least 2 cm, invasion beyond fat, and ear or temple location. Perineural invasion also was associated with disease-specific death. Study authors noted that knowledge of associated risk factors could help to select an appropriate treatment in earlier disease stages.

“Accurate risk estimation of outcomes from population-based data and clinical trials proving the utility of disease-staging modalities and adjuvant therapy is needed,” study authors wrote.

The findings were published in the May issue of JAMA Dermatology.