BACKGROUND: Squamous cell carcinoma of the finger and toe is a relatively rare disorder which has often been misdiagnosed for years before definite diagnosis. Squamous cell carcinoma of the finger has usually been found to be associated with type 16 human papillomavirus (HPV). OBJECTIVES: To describe the clinical and histological features of 12 squamous cell carcinomas of the finger and toe, and to evaluate these lesions for the presence of HPV. METHOD: The clinical and histological features were reviewed. Immunohistochemical staining and PCR were performed in paraffin embedded tissue sections for detection of the presence of HPV infection. RESULTS: Patients presented with an erosive or a verrucous papule. Histologically, 2 lesions demonstrated bowenoid features, 9 lesions demonstrated well differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, and 1 lesion demonstrated verrucous carciroma-like features. By immunohistochenical staining and PCR, we could not demonstrate any evidence of HPV infection in any of the cases. The affected digit was amputated in 10 cases, and complete excision of the skin lesion was done in 2 cases. CONCLUSION: Squamous cell carcinoma of the finger and toe is not as rare as has been implied by early literature. It is important to carry out the skin biopsy from all recalcitrant lesions of the finger and toe.
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