Cutaneous horn: A potentially malignant entity

Neil F. Fernandes, Smeeta Sinha, W. Clark Lambert, Robert A. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A cutaneous horn is a conical, dense, hyperkeratotic protrusion that often appears similar to the horn of an animal. It is a morphologic designation referring to an unusually cohesive keratinized material, not a true pathologic diagnosis. Cutaneous horns occur in association with, or as a response to, a wide variety of underlying benign, pre-malignant, and malignant cutaneous diseases. The most important common concern is distinguishing a hyperkeratotic actinic keratosis from a cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Keratoacanthoma is another cause, as illustrated herein as a projective cutaneous tumor with a fingernail-like appearance. The treatment of choice for cutaneous horns is shave excision with subsequent histopathologic evaluation to rule out underlying malignancy and to guide potential further therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-193
Number of pages5
JournalActa Dermatovenerologica Alpina, Panonica et Adriatica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Actinic keratosis
  • Cornu cutaneum
  • Cutaneous horn
  • Hyperkeratosis
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Keratoacanthoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma


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