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Dermatology Online Journal

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Acral keratoses and squamous-cell carcinomas likely associated with arsenic exposure


Chronic arsenic exposure is known to inducepunctate keratoses with an increased risk ofprimary squamous-cell carcinoma. Drinking wateris currently the major source of arsenic exposureworldwide and is considered one of the mostsubstantial environmental carcinogens. We describethe case of a 61-year-old Hungarian woman withscattered, acral, hyperkeratotic papules and a historyof five palmoplantar squamous-cell carcinomasas well as two other extremity non-melanomaskin cancers. Prior to immigration, she had livedin a county of Southern Hungary that is known tohave elevated concentrations of inorganic arsenicin the drinking water above the World HealthOrganization’s current maximum threshold forsafety. To date, this report is the first to describethe phenomenon of palmoplantar squamouscellcarcinomas in a patient from this region andunderscores the importance of vigilant screening inthose individuals who have spent substantial time inhigh-risk regions internationally and domestically.

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