Trusted medical expertise in seconds.

Access 1,000+ clinical and preclinical articles. Find answers fast with the high-powered search feature and clinical tools.

Try free for 5 days
Evidence-based content, created and peer-reviewed by physicians. Read the disclaimer.

Precancerous skin lesions

Last updated: October 11, 2021

Summarytoggle arrow icon

Precancerous skin lesions refer to various dermatological growths that are at an increased risk of developing into skin cancer. Typical precancerous skin lesions include lentigo maligna, which may develop into malignant melanoma, and actinic keratosis, which may develop into squamous cell carcinoma. There is also a risk of leukoplakia – presenting in the oral cavity as white plaques – progressing to squamous cell carcinoma. Bowen disease and erythroplasia of Queyrat are less common types of precancerous skin lesions and are often associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV). To prevent malignant transformation, surgical excision is usually the treatment of choice.

Although Bowen disease affects the skin and erythroplasia of Queyrat affects the mucous membrane, the precancerous lesions are histopathologically identical.

Bowen disease

Erythroplasia of Queyrat (Bowen disease of the glans penis)

  1. Bishop JA. Leukoplakia and Erythroplakia - Premalignant Squamous Lesions of the Oral Cavity . In: Anton R, Leukoplakia and Erythroplakia - Premalignant Squamous Lesions of the Oral Cavity . New York, NY: WebMD. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1840467-overview#a1. Updated: January 13, 2014. Accessed: December 31, 2016.
  2. James WD, Berger T, Elston D. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. Elsevier Health Sciences ; 2015
  3. Carcinoma in situ of oral cavity. http://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/carcinoma-in-situ-of-oral-cavity/. Updated: January 1, 2009. Accessed: December 31, 2016.
  4. Mirzoyev SA, Knudson RM, Reed KB, et al. Incidence of lentigo maligna in Olmsted County, Minnesota, 1970 to 2007. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013; 70 (3): p.443-448. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2013.11.008 . | Open in Read by QxMD
  5. Werner RN, Stockfleth E, Conolly SM et al. . Evidence- and consensus-based (S3) Guidelines for the Treatment of Actinic Keratosis – International League of Dermatological Societies in cooperation with the European Dermatology Forum. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2015; 29 : p.2069-2079. doi: 10.1111/jdv.13180 . | Open in Read by QxMD