Spontaneous squamous cell carcinomas in 13 baboons, a first report in a spider monkey, and a review of the non-human primate literature

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Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a neoplastic proliferation of epithelial cells undergoing squamous differentiation and represents a diagnostic challenge in non-human primates (NHP), especially in baboons with perineal SCC.


Fourteen SCC (13 baboons, 1 spider monkey) were identified over a 20-year period. A literature search identified 86 additional published cases of spontaneous NHP SCC.


Squamous cell carcinoma was most commonly reported in macaques, baboons, marmosets, and squirrel monkeys. Metastasis occurred in 23%, of NHP. The most frequently reported primary locations were the oral cavity, integument, esophagus, and cervix-uterus. Perineal SCC occurred mainly in baboons. All reported SCC in marmosets occurred in the head. Nasal cavity SCC was only reported in male marmosets. All reported pulmonary SCC occurred in males, mostly in tree shrews.


Squamous cell carcinoma is a common neoplasm in NHP and exhibits species differences. NHPs may provide a useful SCC animal model.

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