Histopathologic findings and diagnostic difficulties posed with use of escharotic agents for treatment of skin lesions: a case report and review of the literature


Klaus F. Helm, MD, Department of Pathology and Dermatology, Dermatopathology Laboratory, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033, USA
Tel: +1 717 531 1677
e-mail: annamoranmd@hotmail.com or amoran@hmc.psu.edu


Escharotic agents have been used as alternative therapy for treatment of skin cancer and skin problems for centuries. Internet web sites such as online health product stores and eBay have made them widely available to the general public. The use of these agents carries risk of incomplete removal of tumor, damage of surrounding healthy tissues and marked scarring with poor cosmetic outcome. We report the case of a 27-year-old man who presented with history of moles and self-treatment with an escharotic agent containing bloodroot in order to document the histopathologic findings of topical bloodroot treatment and to show the clinical consequences that may occur in the unsuspecting public. To the best of our knowledge, the histological features following use of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) have not yet been documented.