Chronic leg ulcers are one of the most common medical conditions and are a substantial source of morbidity.


To investigate the prevalence of skin cancer mimicking leg ulcers.

Patients and Methods

This observational study included all patients with a clinical diagnosis of chronic leg ulcers (CLU) admitted to the Wound Care Unit, Division of Dermatology, University of Bologna, between March 2008 and February 2011. Patients' general health was assessed, and skin biopsy and vascular Doppler of the lower limbs were performed.


Two hundred fifty-seven patients ages 45 to 98 with CLU were included. Skin biopsies were performed in all patients. Pathologic results showed that 10 patients had ulcerative lesions of neoplastic origin. Surgical excision was performed in all patients with neoplasms. After at least 1 year of follow-up, no recurrences were observed.

Discussion and Conclusion

Our findings highlight the important role of systematic biopsies in diagnosing ulcerated tumors of the lower legs and indicate a high prevalence of large ulcerated basal cell carcinomas.