Skin cancers arising in tattoos: coincidental or not?

Dermatology. 2008;217(3):219-21. doi: 10.1159/000143794. Epub 2008 Jul 10.


Trauma, scars and/or chronic inflammation have been reported as underlying causes of skin cancers in occasional cases. Tattooing is a traumatizing procedure characterized by the introduction of exogenous pigment in the dermis by puncturing the skin. Even though cases of malignancies such as melanoma, basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas and keratoacanthomas have been reported for the past 40 years, it remains unclear what role tattoos play in their pathogenesis. We report here 2 new cases and wish to discuss the arguments and counter-arguments for such a potential relationship.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Melanoma / etiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Tattooing / adverse effects*