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Papers of the Week

2021 May 20

Int J Gynecol Pathol

Acantholytic Squamous Cell Carcinoma Arising From Lichen Sclerosus: A Rare Case Affecting Vulvar Skin.


Barron CR, Paczos TA, Varghese S, Smoller BR
Int J Gynecol Pathol. 2021 May 20.
PMID: 34015795.


We present the case of an 82-year-old female with acantholytic squamous cell carcinoma affecting vulvar skin. The patient had a history of perineal lichen sclerosus for 5 years before presentation. She was referred to a dermatologist for intractable severe pain associated with the lesions. Biopsies showed an infiltrative squamous cell carcinoma with histology consistent with the acantholytic subtype. Acantholytic squamous cell carcinoma is a rare histologic variant characterized by dyscohesive keratinocytes with pseudoglandular formation and dyskeratosis. It is associated with sun-damaged skin and most commonly occurs in the head and neck of elderly men. Few cases have been reported at nondermal sites and non-sun-exposed dermis. The patient underwent a radical vulvectomy and bilateral inguinal node dissection. The 1.6 cm tumor was diffusely acantholytic and pseudoglands were present. The tumor cells were diffusely positive for p63 immunohistochemical stain. As expected at this site, there was no solar elastosis identified histologically. However, vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia and chronic lichen sclerosus were apparent. This case represents a rare histologic subtype of squamous cell carcinoma in an unusual site associated with lichen sclerosus instead of solar elastosis.