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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2004 April;139(2):131-7


language: English, Italian

The problematic spectrum of sebaceous tumors

Urso B.

Dermatopathology Section S. M. Annunziata Hospital, Florence, Italy


Glandular tumors are generally divided, according to a binary scheme, into benign (adenomas) and malignant (adenocarcinomas). Current classifications of sebaceous tumors, however, do not follow such a scheme, because some often controversial entities are considered intermediate between sebaceous adenoma and sebaceous carcinoma. Until the 1980’s, in fact, sebaceous epithelioma, an intermediate form, clinically and histologically not well defined, has been considered. Subsequently, this form has been replaced by sebaceoma, a better defined benign sebaceous tumor, which, however, did not resolve the anomaly in the classification of sebaceous tumors. The concept of sebomatricoma, an entity encompassing sebaceous adenoma and sebaceoma, has been subsequently proposed to solve the problem. With the concept of sebomatricoma, in fact, the scheme of sebaceous tumors became binary. Later, however, the hypothesis has been raised that sebaceous adenoma is more properly carcinoma. Moreover, recently, low-grade sebaceous carcinoma, an entity intermediate between sebaceoma and sebaceous carcinoma, has been described. Finally, if so-called sebaceous hyperplasia, which, despite its name, is properly a benign sebaceous tumor and part of the group, is added, the spectrum of sebaceous tumors appears to be particularly complex and atypical. However, if clinical and histological features are considered objectively, it seems that the problematic spectrum of sebaceous tumors can be divided into 2 distinct segments, one benign comprising hyperplasia, adenoma and sebaceoma, and the other malignant comprising low-grade carcinoma and sebaceous carcinoma. So, the classification of sebaceous tumors becomes binary, as those of other glandular tumors.

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