3/2023 4/2023

A primary cutaneous carcinosarcoma of the retro auricular region, how to treat and literature review

C. Arkaz1,2, J. Pauwels2, K. Wetzels3, B. Cambier1

1 Department of Plastic Surgery, Sint-Blasius Hospital, Dendermonde, Belgium
2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
3 Department of Pathology, Sint-Blasius Hospital, Dendermonde, Belgium


Introduction: Carcinosarcomas are malignant biphasic tumours of epithelial and mesenchymal tissue. They are most often found in visceral organs, but also appear on the skin. Older age, male sex and chronic sun exposure are risk factors for its development. In this article we report a case and provide a review of literature regarding primary cutaneous carcinosarcoma (CCS) with special regard to its management. Material and methods: A manual electronic search of the PubMed Medline and Web of Science Core Collection databases was performed encompassing all included reports until 30th November 2022 to identify studies that reported primary CCS. Results: CCS is a rare and aggressive tumour. Diagnosis requires histological examination and immunoreactivity of epithelial and mesenchymal components to specific markers. On its diagnosis, possibility of metastasis of a visceral carcinosarcoma should always be excluded. Surgical excision with clear margins, including the use of Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS), is the primary treatment for CCS. Reconstruction the excision defect should be performed. Regular follow-up for 5 to 10 years after initial treatment is advised. Conclusion: Awareness for CCS is necessary in the diagnostic evaluation of skin tumours. Further research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms of CCS and to establish optimal management strategies for this challenging malignancy. We recommend complete surgical excision using MMS as the treatment modality for this type of skin cancer. Dermatological follow-up for at least 5 years should be conducted to monitor for recurrence.

Key words

cutaneous carcinosarcoma – sarcomatoid carcinoma – skin cancer – Mohs micrographic surgery

Are you a healthcare professional?

I am a professional pursuant to Act No. 2a, Rule 40/1995 Coll., describing commercial advertising regulations, as amended; I am therefore authorized to prescribe or sell or distribute medicinal products.