Penis & scrotum

Dysplasia / carcinoma in situ

Bowenoid papulosis

Topic Completed: 1 April 2010

Minor changes: 28 October 2020

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Bowenoid papulosis penis

Alcides Chaux, M.D.
Antonio L. Cubilla, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 3,629
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Cite this page: Chaux A, Cubilla AL. Bowenoid papulosis. website. Accessed October 21st, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Type of penile intraepithelial neoplasia (males) or vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (females)
  • Preferentially affects sexually active young males (mean age 30 years)
  • Primarily penile shaft; may also be present in foreskin, glans or scrotum
  • Sexually transmitted disease associated with HPV 16 or 18
Clinical features
  • Occurs in young, sexually active population
  • Clinically resembles condyloma but histologically resembles Bowen disease
  • Usually regresses spontaneously (mean duration of disease is 2 months), leaving no sequelae
  • Either macular or papular
  • Less than 1% progress to penile cancer
Prognostic factors
  • None identified
  • Often regresses spontaneously
  • Local agents include 5-fluorouracil, imiquimod, podophyllin and cidofovir (Indian J Dermatol 2009;54:283)
  • Also retinoids (topical or systemic), excision, electrocautery, CO2 laser, cryosurgery, photodynamic therapy and interferon
Clinical images

AFIP images

Two small papules with irregular margins

Images hosted on other servers:

Penile lesions

Typical appearance in female

Gross description
  • Multiple small pigmented papular lesions, may resemble condyloma acuminatum
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Resembles basaloid PeIN but may have mild / heavy melanin pigmentation within the lesion and atypical cells are more spotty
  • Often spiky or flat appearance
  • May have less cytologic atypia
Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images

Acanthosis and spotty distribution of atypical cells

Images hosted on other servers:

Epidermal dysmaturation and dyskeratosis

Acanthosis and epidermal dysmaturation / dyskeratosis

Differential diagnosis
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