Factors associated with inoperable cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

Eur J Dermatol. 2021 Jun 1;31(3):396-402. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2021.4048.


Inoperable cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are rare and life-threatening, but few studies have investigated their causal factors. Our aim was to determine factors associated with inoperable SCCs, as well as patient and tumour characteristics, and care pathway-related factors. Based on an observational retrospective study at Reims University Hospital, France, the characteristics of tumours and patients were recorded based on 73 cases of inoperable SCCs and compared with 73 cases of operable SCCs. In addition, the clinical history and care pathway associated with inoperable cases was documented. In patients with inoperable SCCs, the median overall survival (OS) time was 7.6 months and the three-year OS was <5%. Compared to patients with operable tumours, those with inoperable tumours were older (83 vs 78.9; p = 0.018) and more frequently had a history of senile dementia (21.9% vs 8.2%; p = 0.048), cardiovascular disease (75.3% vs 50.7%; p = 0.009) or a tumour with poor or moderate differentiation (30.9% vs 13.3%; p= 0.04). A long delay between tumour appearance and first consultation with a dermatologist (median: five months), failing to attend further medical or surgical appointments (21%), initial refusal of surgery (18%), reluctance to accept doctors' recommendations by the family and/or patient (26%), and absence of surgical revision after a previous incomplete excision (29%) were identified as potentially modifiable factors associated with inoperable SCCs. There is a need for better information for both patients and doctors concerning the potential severity of SCCs and the importance of early and appropriate management, specifically in older and frail patients.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy