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Actinic keratosis is an early in situ squamous cell carcinoma: a proposal for reclassification



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Corrigenda Volume 157, Issue 2, 431, Article first published online: 19 July 2007

  • Conflict of interest
    C. Ulrich has acted as a lecturer for Shire Pharmaceuticals. E. Stockfleth has acted as a lecturer/consultant for Shire Pharmaceuticals. All remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.

Joachim Röwert.


Summary The term actinic keratosis (AK) describes a sun-induced, clinical erythematous lesion covered with scale, but does not provide an understanding of the biology or histopathology of the lesion. Cousequeutly, several classification systems for AK have been suggested, but as yet no cousensus has been reached. These systems strive to correlate the pathological and clinical features to better provide physcians with the most accurate information to enable correct decisions to be made regarding treatments, Prognosis and metastatic potential. AK is a clinical description that has a histological diagnosis consistent with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in situ. We recommend an AK classification system that describes these lesions as squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), using the terminology ‘early in situ SCC Type AK I’, ‘early in situ SCC type AK II’ and ‘in situ SCC Type AK III’, there by giving clinicians better guidance for diagnosis and specific treatment recommendations.