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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Skin Cancer

Question: Seborrheic Keratosis, Acanthotic Variant, Potential trouble?

 BrandiWyne - Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:43 pm


A couple of weeks ago, I noticed some dark areas and a raised, jagged spot on my husband's back. Husband is 41. No previous surgeries. I talked him into going to a dermatologist for consult, and after shave biopsy of three (3) spots, the diagnosis was Seborrheic Keratosis, Acanthotic Variant. Pathology goes on to say:

"In each sample, levels through the tissue designated "x,y, and z" are examined on one slide. Sections demonstrate a seborrheic keratosis, acanthotic variant, characterized by acanthotic expansion on the epidermis with variable keratin cyst formation. There are no malignant features identified as sampled. H and E stained preparations are utilized in the evaluation. The microscopic findings support the diagnosis."

My question is this: to a layperson, this sounds like a great diagnosis, but I have Googled all this and have proceeded to alarm myself that this could potentially be pre-cancerous? Is this a firm diagnosis of benign origin?? Is there anything else I should ask his physician? We do not see him until July, and I am fairly alarmed, as he has more of these "lesions" that were not excised, and his physician said he has extensive sun damage on his ears.

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:19 pm

User avatar Seborrheic keratoses are benign lesions of the skin. They are often darker than the surrounding skin and have a raised appearance to them. It's almost as if they are glued on.

Acanthosis is a condition that basically is very similar and involves thickening of the skin. It, too, is a benign process.

There is another condition known as actinic keratosis. These lesions are considered precancerous and should be treated to prevent them from becoming skin cancer. They can be easily frozen with liquid nitrogen by your doctor. These spots generally are less raised and have a more rough feel to them, almost like sand paper.

I would recommend you have your doctor take a look at the spots to see if they look like actinic keratosis or a variant of seborrheic keratosis. Seborrheic keratosis (any of their variants) will only very rarely develop into skin cancer-mostly they are just annoyances.

Best wishes.
 BrandiWyne - Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:22 am

Thank you, Dr. Lowe, for your response. I truly appreciate it. I will confer with his physician on this matter, as you suggest.

My biggest problem is I've become the Google Queen.... :) sincere thanks,


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