The literature reports many cases of cutaneous malignancy in the setting of skin tattoos. In this study, we review the reported incidence of and risk factors for tattoo-associated skin cancer.
A PubMed literature review was performed for all cases of tattoo-associated skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, keratoacanthoma, and other rare skin malignancies (source: PubMed/until June 2017).
The authors identified 51 publications and 63 total cases of tattoo-associated skin cancer. We also report on a single new case of tattoo-associated skin cancer observed at one of our co-authors’ institutions. Among these 64 total cases, 58% were associated with black and blue inks and 34% were associated with red ink.
Overall, while the strength of association remains unclear, the literature reports many cases of tattoo-associated skin cancer. Among these cases, black, blue, and red inks were particularly worrisome for their carcinogenic potential.
Level of Evidence IV
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