oa South African Medical Journal - Multiple primary self-healing squamous epithelioma of the skin (Ferguson Smith), and its relationship to molluscum sebaceum

Volume 27, Issue 45
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



1. A case of Ferguson Smith's multiple self-healing squamous epithelioma is reported. There appear to be only 12 previous descriptionptions in the world literature. 2. The patient was a European male of 42 who had had 21 carcinomas which healed spontaneously, and presented 8 lesions which were still active. The condition probably never leads to metastasis. There are apparently 3 clinical types of spontaneously healing skin tumour in which the diagnosis of squamous carcinoma, grade 1, may be made microscopically: the solitary type, also known as kerato-acanthoma or molluscum sebaceum; the multiple form, corresponding to Ferguson Smith's epithelioma, which is sometimes familial; and a third, in which hundreds of epitheliomas may be present. 4. Inoculation of material from molluscum sebaceum failed to reveal a virus on developing hen-eggs. 5. The self-healing property of these tumours has hitherto received no satisfactory explanation, but it is suggested that it may be due to their derivation, from the hair apparatus. The tumours are extruded after a time in the same manner as are hairs from a hair follicle.

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