Inherited skin tumour syndromes

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Abstract

This article provides an overview of selected genetic skin conditions where multiple inherited cutaneous tumours are a central feature. Skin tumours that arise from skin structures such as hair, sweat glands and sebaceous glands are called skin appendage tumours. These tumours are uncommon, but can have important implications for patient care. Certain appendageal tumours, particularly when multiple lesions are seen, may indicate an underlying genetic condition. These tumours may not display clinical features that allow a secure diagnosis to be made, necessitating biopsy and dermatopathological assessment. Coupled with robust clinical assessment, biopsy findings can guide genetic testing as, increasingly, the causative genes are known for these conditions. Here we review illustrative examples of appendageal tumours and relevant advances made in genetic discovery, and suggest when referral to a geneticist may need to be considered.

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