Scleroderma is a heterogeneous group of fibrosing connective tissue disorders of unknown etiology. Morphea is a localized form of scleroderma that occasionally leads to chronic erosions and ulcerations of the skin. Fibrosis, inflammation and chronic ulcerations may eventually promote skin neoplasms; morphea is therefore a rare but established risk factor for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). We present a review of 16 scleroderma patients: 15 case reports from the literature (identified by a PubMed search) and one case from our clinic of a patient who had developed cSCC, and we discuss potential underlying mechanisms. Statistical analysis revealed that the lower extremities were the body site most commonly affected by cSCC in these scleroderma patients. The mean time interval between the onset of scleroderma and the development of cSCC was ten to twenty years. In patients with morphea, we recommend checking for skin tumors during follow-up examinations as well as a careful risk-benefit analysis when considering the application of immunosuppressants or phototherapy in view of their potential carcinogenic side effects.
© 2020 The Authors. Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Deutsche Dermatologische Gesellschaft.