Squamous cell carcinoma of the hand: A 20-year review

Morad Askari, Sanjeev Kakar, Steven L. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a common malignancy of the hand; yet, recurrence rates, metastatic rates, and long-term survival rates have not been well defined. This study evaluated the risk factors for local and regional recurrence for this diagnosis. Methods Records of patients treated for SCC of the hand over a 20-year period in a single institution were reviewed. Data collected included patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and preoperative and postoperative care received. Overall survival, recurrence-free survival, and survival free of SCC in the same upper extremity were analyzed. Results A total of 86 patients were identified. Mean age at the time of initial presentation was 69 years (range, 39-89 y). Mean follow-up was 6.4 years (range, 1-15 y). Overall survival was 88% and 57% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Recurrence-free survival was 67% and 50% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Rate of metastasis was 4%. Lymph node biopsy was performed in 4 patients who had clinical lymphadenopathy; 2 patients had positive nodes. Average time to first recurrence was 4.1 years (range, 0.5-11 y). Web space location, bilateral tumors, multiple tumors, and prior history of SCC were associated with an increased risk of recurrence. Survival free of SCC in the same upper extremity was 72% and 54% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Younger age, history of transplantation, multiple tumors, and use of flap or skin graft for closure were associated with an increased risk of another SCC developing in the same extremity. No benefit was noted with wide, Mohs, or shave resection in terms of overall survival, recurrence-free survival, or SCC occurrence in the ipsilateral upper extremity. Conclusions Squamous cell carcinoma tumors of the hand have a high tendency for local recurrence but a low rate of metastasis. Specific characteristics of the tumor may increase chances of recurrence. The technique of tumor excision did not have a major role in outcome. Type of study/level of evidence Prognostic IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2124-2133
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Cancer
  • carcinoma
  • hand
  • skin
  • squamous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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