Insight into the epidemiology of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma with perineural spread

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Perineural spread (PNS) of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) can be associated with poor outcomes. Disease understanding and awareness is limited leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment. The purpose of this study was to identify epidemiological features of patients with PNS of cutaneous SCCHN.


Tumor characteristics and demographics of patients with PNS of cutaneous SCCHN managed through a single institution were collected between 1998 and 2013.


One hundred twenty patients were included in this study. The majority had a history of skin cancer (85.8%). The median time from primary tumor treatment to PNS symptom onset was 16 months (range, 1–86 months). A total of 34.2% had no perineural invasion (PNI) detected in the primary, and 22.5% had no known primary tumor. Only 5.8% of the patients had nodal involvement at presentation.


Patients can present with PNS from cutaneous SCCHN with no known primary tumor or with primary tumors without PNI. The majority of patients presented without regional nodal involvement. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck38: 1416–1420, 2016

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