Skin - Nonmelanocytic tumors
Premalignant or noninvasive
Bowen’s disease

Author: Christopher Hale, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 13 October 2016, last major update June 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Bowen’s disease [title]

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Cite this page: Bowen's disease. website. Accessed March 22nd, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Usually on skin NOT exposed to sunlight, such as trunk
  • Called erythroplasia (of Queyrat) if at glans penis, vulva, oral cavity
  • Often considered as carcinoma in situ or squamous intraepidermal neoplasia
Case reports
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Solitary black colored verrucous scaly plaque on umbilicus

Erythematous scaly plaque with crusting on palm

Gross description
  • Slightly raised, large scaly erythematous plaque with irregular border
  • Usually single patch or verrucous growth
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Atypia is prominent and throughout epidermis
  • Includes nuclear hyperchromasia and multinucleation, individual cell dyskeratosis, increased mitotic figures, atypical mitotic figures
  • Also cytoplasmic vacuoles, markedly altered maturation, but usually still some surface keratinization
  • May extend into eccrine sweat glands (not considered invasive disease)
  • Intercellular bridges present
  • Rarely pagetoid cells or ground glass cytoplasm
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on PathOut server:

Courtesy of Dr. Amy Lynn

Various images

Molecular / cytogenetics description
  • Aneuploid
Differential diagnosis
  • Bowenoid actinic keratosis: circumscribed, in sun-exposed areas with clinical appearance of actinic keratosis
  • Chronic arsenic ingestion
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