Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma

DiseaseDisorder infobox
Name = Squamous cell carcinoma, NOS

Caption = SCC of the skin tends to arise from pre-malignant lesions, actinic keratoses; surface is usually scaly and often ulcerates (as shown here).
ICD10 = C44
ICD9 = ICD9|173
ICDO = ICDO|8070|3
eMedicineSubj = derm
eMedicineTopic = 401
MedlinePlus = 000829
In medicine, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a form of cancer of the carcinoma type that may occur in many different organs, including the skin, lips, mouth, esophagus, urinary bladder, prostate, lungs, vagina, and cervix. It is a malignant tumor of squamous epithelium (epithelium that shows squamous cell differentiation).


A carcinoma can be characterized as either "in situ" (confined to the original site) or "invasive", depending on whether the cancer invades underlying tissues; only invasive cancers are able to spread to other organs and cause metastasis.



Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common cancer of the skin (after basal cell carcinoma but more common than melanoma). It usually occurs in areas exposed to the sun, and can generally be treated by excision only. Sunlight exposure and immunosuppression are risk factors for SCC of the skin. The risk of metastasis is larger than with basal cell carcinoma.

Head and neck cancer

Most cases of head and neck cancer (cancer of the mouth, nasal cavity, throat and associated structures) are due to squamous cell carcinoma. Symptoms may include a poorly healing mouth ulcer, a hoarse voice or other persistent problems in the area. Treatment is usually with surgery (which may be extensive) and radiotherapy. Risk factors include smoking and [alcoholic beverage|alcohol consu


Esophageal cancer may be due to either squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) or adenocarcinoma (EAC). SCCs tend to occur closer to the mouth, while adenocarcinomas occur closer to the stomach. Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing, solids worse than liquids) and odynophagia are common initial symptoms. If the disease is localized, esophagectomy may offer the possibility of a cure. If the disease has spread, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are commonly used.


When associated with the lung, it often causes ectopic production of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), resulting in hypercalcemia.


When associated with the prostate, squamous cell carcinoma is very aggressive in nature. It is difficult to detect as there is no increase in prostate specific antigen levels seen; meaning that the cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage.

Vagina and cervix

Vaginal squamous cell carcinoma spreads slowly and usually stays near the vagina, but may spread to the lungs and liver. This is the most common type of vaginal cancer.

Experimental treatments

In 2007, Australian biopharmaceutical company Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals Limited began clinical trials with a melanocyte-stimulating hormone called melanotan (known by the International Nonproprietary Name "afamelanotide", formerly CUV1647)Cite web|url=http://www.clinuvel.com/resources/pdf/asx_announcements/2008/20080617WHOGenericName.pdf|title=World Health Organisation assigns CUV1647 generic name|accessdate=2008-06-17|publisher=Clinuvel|year=2008|format=PDF] to provide photoprotection for organ transplant patients against squamous cell carcinoma of the skin and actinic keratosis. [http://www.clinuvel.com/en/faqs/ Clinuvel » Investors » FAQs ] ] [http://www.pharmaasia.com/article-6618-clinuvelsdrugbeginsglobalphaseiiskincancertrials-Asia.html PharmaAsia - Clinuvel’s Drug Begins Global Phase II Skin Cancer Trials] ]

Related conditions

* Keratoacanthoma is a low-grade malignancy of the skin. It originates in the pilo-sebaceous glands, and is similar in clinical presentation and microscopic analysis to squamous cell carcinoma, except that it contains a central keratin plug. Statistically, it is less likely to become invasive than squamous cell carcinoma.
* Bowen's disease is a sunlight-induced skin disease, and is considered to be an early form of squamous cell carcinoma.
* Marjolin's ulcer is a type of squamous cell carcinoma that arises from a non-healing ulcer or burn wound.

External links

* [http://www.skincancer.org/content/view/23/81/ Information on Squamous Cell Carcinoma from The Skin Cancer Foundation]
* [http://www.emedicine.com/DERM/topic401.htm Article by Stephen D Hess, MD, PhD]
* [http://www.dermnetnz.org/lesions/squamous-cell-carcinoma.html DermNet NZ: Squamous cell carcinoma]
* [http://www.skintherapyletter.com/2004/9.4/2.html Squamous cell carcinoma in transplant recipients]
* [http://www.kidneycancerresource.com Including TCC, CIS and papillary tumour SCC]

Notes and references

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Squamous-cell carcinoma — Squamous cell carcinoma, NOS Classification and external resources SCC of the skin tends to arise from pre malignant lesions, actinic keratoses; surface is usually scaly and often ulcerates (as shown here). ICD 10 …   Wikipedia

  • squamous cell carcinoma — n a carcinoma that is made up of or arises from squamous cells and usu. occurs in areas of the body exposed to strong sunlight over a period of many years …   Medical dictionary

  • squamous cell carcinoma — noun the most common form of skin cancer • Syn: ↑cancroid • Derivationally related forms: ↑cancroid (for: ↑cancroid) • Hypernyms: ↑skin cancer * * * …   Useful english dictionary

  • Squamous cell carcinoma in situ — An early stage of skin cancer. Also known as Bowen s disease. This is a tumor that develops from the squamous cells which are flat, scalelike cells in the outer layer of the skin (the epithelium). The term in situ (borrowed from the Romans) means …   Medical dictionary

  • squamous cell carcinoma — SCC any cancer of squamous epithelium, arising from such tissues as the skin and the lining of the upper airways and digestive tract (especially in the head and neck). SCC is the second commonest form of skin cancer (after basal cell carcinoma),… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • squamous cell carcinoma — (SCC) the second commonest form of skin cancer (after basal cell carcinoma), occurring usually in late middle and old age. Sunlight is the commonest cause but other environmental carcinogens may be responsible. SCC is mainly found on areas… …   Medical dictionary

  • squamous cell carcinoma — noun a malignant, epithelial tumour, metastatic in nature, primarily caused by excessive exposure to the sun and appearing as a thickened red, scaly spot on the skin. Compare basal cell carcinoma. Also, SCC …  

  • squamous-cell carcinoma — Carcinoma that develops from the squamous layer of the epithelium. Slow growing …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • squamous cell carcinoma — Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that look like fish scales. Squamous cells are found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the passages of the… …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • squamous cell carcinoma — noun Date: 1907 a carcinoma that is made up of or arises from squamous cells and usually occurs in areas of the body exposed to strong sunlight over many years …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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