Pseudocarcinomatous Squamous Hyperplasia Involving Bone: A Diagnostic Pitfall Mimicking Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Smiljana Spasic, Oleksandr N. Kryvenko, Darcy A. Kerr, Gunnlaugur P. Nielsen, Carmen Gomez-Fernandez, Andrew E. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background:Pseudocarcinomatous squamous hyperplasia (PSH) within the bone is uncommon and closely mimics well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). It arises from cutaneous or mucosal surfaces and grows directly into the bone. This study analyzes a large series of PSH and discusses the clinicopathologic features that facilitate its distinction from SCC.Design:Cases were identified from the surgical pathology files between 1985 and 2020.Results:The 31 cases included 21 males, 9 females, 1 unknown sex; who were 20 to 87 years old (average: 59 y). Sites included mandible - 17, maxilla - 5, toes - 4, and 1 case from finger, femur, tibia, ischium, and unknown. Fourteen patients had a history of SCC, 13 treated with resection and chemoradiation and developed infected osteoradionecrosis, 4 - medication-related osteonecrosis, 3 - peripheral vascular disease, and diabetes mellitus, 3 - trauma, 3 - osteomyelitis, 3 - unknown, and 1 - hematologic malignancy. All cases exhibited severe osteomyelitis and nests of reactive keratinizing squamous epithelium that matured towards the bone surface, lacked significant atypia, or mitotic activity but permeated the medullary cavity. Patients with previous SCC developed PSH after 2 months to 8 years (average: 4 y). Nineteen of 30 patients had follow-up (2 to 48 mo, average: 17 mo); 6 patients experienced repeated debridements over 2 months to 1 year; no patient developed SCC.Conclusions:PSH involving bone is infrequent, complicates severe osteomyelitis, and is often therapy related. The clinical findings are usually not concerning for malignancy, however, the histologic findings are an important diagnostic pitfall because they mimic SCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-269
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • osteomyelitis
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • squamous epithelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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