Angiokeratoma (also known as: Aplastic Keratinocytic Granulomatosis) is a rare skin cancer which mainly affects young children. It is characterized by thickening of the epidermis and surrounding tissue, leading to the formation of large tumors on the body surface. Most cases occur in infants between 1 month and 3 years old. Usually, these tumors do not cause any symptoms or signs; however, they may become malignant if left untreated. There is no cure for angiokeratoma. Treatment consists of surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy drugs, and radiation therapy. Patients who have had previous treatment may benefit from a second round of treatment.
What are the different types?
There are three main types of angiokeratomas:
1) Melanoma – Skin cancers that form in areas where melanin is produced, such as the hair follicles or sunburns.
They tend to grow slowly over time and usually don’t spread beyond the site of their origin.
2) Acral Melanoma – Skin cancers that develop in areas where acrylamide is produced, such as the roots of trees or soil.
These tumors often appear very early in life and may not cause any symptoms until adulthood.
3) Osteosarcoma – Skin cancers that arise from bone marrow cells, such as those found in bone cancer patients.
They cause pain and other symptoms related to the affected bone.
What are the symptoms?
As stated above, this skin cancer occurs in infants and young children. They are usually painless, but they may cause the following symptoms:
1) Pain at the tumor site – Some angiokeratomas may cause mild pain or itching.
2) Swelling of the fingers or toes – This symptom is common when the tumor affects the joints or bones.
3) Changes in nail or skin color – In some cases, the tumor may cause the nails or skin to change to an abnormal color.
4) Changes in skin texture – Angiokeratomas may cause the skin to grow thicker and develop a warty texture.
What causes angiokeratoma?
Angiokeratomas are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The tumors often run in families, suggesting a genetic link. They are also more common in patients who have had radiation therapy or taken certain drugs.
How is angiokeratoma diagnosed?
Skin biopsy is used to diagnose angiokeratomas. The procedure involves the removal of a small piece of skin for examination under a microscope. During the procedure, the surgeon will apply an anesthetic and may apply a local or general anesthetic depending on the size of the tumor.
How is angiokeratoma treated?
Angiokeratomas are typically treated with surgery. The type of treatment is decided by the size and location of the tumor. In some cases, a combination of treatments is used.
Treatment options include:
Surgery – The most common treatment option, surgery involves the complete removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue to ensure that all cancerous cells have been eliminated. This procedure is typically very effective and has a high cure rate.
Curettage and electrodesis – During this procedure, the surgeon will scrape the tumor cells off of the skin surface using a curette (a surgical tool that resembles a spoon). An electrosurgical blade will then be used to burn the scraped tissue. This treatment option can be used for small tumors on the chest, back, or abdomen.
Shave removal – During this procedure, the surgeon removes the outer layer of skin using a blade or a wire loop. This method can be used for tumors on the face or other sensitive areas of the body.
Laser surgery – During this procedure, a laser beam is used to destroy the tumor cells. The surgeon will apply an anesthetic before the procedure to minimize any pain.
Radiation therapy – During this treatment, the tumor cells are bombarded with radiation from a machine. The amount of radiation given is controlled by a medical professional to ensure that the tumor cells are destroyed while the surrounding healthy tissue remains unharmed.
After angiokeratoma is treated, patients often have regular follow-up visits with their oncologist to ensure that the cancer has not returned.
Is angiokeratoma preventable?
Because angiokeratomas are most often caused by repeated injury to the skin, it is difficult to prevent the disease. It is important to wear proper protective gear when engaging in activities that are likely to cause repeated injury (such as contact sports). In addition, patients with a history of angiokeratomas should pay special attention to any new bumps they discover on their skin. If a new bump appears, patients should have it checked by a medical professional.
Sources & references used in this article:
Angiokeratoma: a clinicopathological study by R Imperial, EB Helwig – Archives of Dermatology, 1967 – jamanetwork.com
Angiokeratoma corporis diffusum by RB PITTELKOW, RR KIERLAND… – AMA archives of …, 1955 – jamanetwork.com
The genetics of angiokeratoma corporis diffusum (Fabry’s disease) and its linkage relations with the Xg locus by JM Opitz, FC Stiles, D Wise, RR Race… – American journal of …, 1965 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Angiokeratoma of the scrotum (Fordyce type) by R Imperial, EB Helwig – The Journal of urology, 1967 – auajournals.org
The renal lesion in angiokeratoma corporis diffusum by JR Colley, DL Miller, MSR Hutt, HJ Wallace… – British medical …, 1958 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Angiokeratoma circumscriptum by PJ Lynch, M Kosanovich – Archives of Dermatology, 1967 – jamanetwork.com
Angiokeratoma corporis diffusum: First American Report of a Rare Disorder by P FESSAS, MM Wintrobe… – AMA archives of internal …, 1955 – jamanetwork.com
Angiokeratoma circumscriptum: a case report and review of the literature by R Mittal, A Aggarwal… – International journal of …, 2005 – Wiley Online Library
Angiokeratoma of the vulva by R IMPERIAL, EB HELWIG – Obstetrics & Gynecology, 1967 – journals.lww.com