Sebaceous Carcinoma: A Review of the Scientific Literature

Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2017 Aug;18(8):47. doi: 10.1007/s11864-017-0490-0.


Sebaceous carcinoma is a rare and potentially aggressive cutaneous malignancy. Commonly reported in the periocular area and the head and neck region, sebaceous carcinoma can arise from any sebaceous gland in the skin. The clinical presentation may be nonspecific, and a biopsy is important to establish a diagnosis and to differentiate from mimickers including benign sebaceous neoplasms, other adnexal tumors, and basal cell carcinoma. A diagnosis of Muir Torre syndrome should be considered in patients presenting with a sebaceous neoplasm. Early treatment is important given the potential of sebaceous carcinoma to spread to the regional lymph nodes and beyond. Sentinel lymph node biopsy and imaging to complete tumor staging may be indicated for larger or more aggressive tumors. Surgery, including Mohs micrographic surgery, remains the primary treatment modality for sebaceous carcinoma. Mohs micrographic surgery has the advantage of complete margin evaluation and low recurrence rates. Advanced cases may be treated with orbital exenteration, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or combination therapy.

Keywords: Extraocular sebaceous carcinoma; Eyelid tumors; Nonmelanoma skin cancer; Periocular cancers; Sebaceous carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Multimodal Imaging / methods
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / diagnosis
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / etiology
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / therapy
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Sebaceous Gland Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Sebaceous Gland Neoplasms / etiology
  • Sebaceous Gland Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Transplant Recipients
  • Treatment Outcome