How are cutaneous tumors categorized?

Updated: Oct 07, 2019
  • Author: Guy J Petruzzelli, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
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Cutaneous tumors encompass a vast array of malignancies, ranging from neuroendocrine to lymphoid in origin. In addition to primary malignancies, the skin can also be a major site for metastatic disease. The diagnosis and treatment of these cutaneous tumors is constantly evolving, and the role of clinicians relies on accurate diagnosis and a thorough understanding of the clinical sequelae. [1, 2, 3]  This article focuses mainly on nonmelanoma skin cancers, with an emphasis on rare benign and malignant epithelial, dermal, and adnexal tumors.

As with all tumors, whether benign or malignant, identification of the cell or cell layer of origin is of the utmost importance. The origin of cutaneous tumors can be simplistically divided into three major categories: epidermal, dermal, and adnexal (see image below).

Layers of the Skin: A Schematic Depiction Layers of the Skin: A Schematic Depiction

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