USMLE

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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Lung Cancer
  1. Lung Cancer Overview
  2. Small Cell Carcinoma
  3. Adenocarcinoma
  4. Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  5. Large Cell Carcinoma
  6. Bronchial Carcinoid Tumor

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is a subtype of of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), characterized by the appearance of squamous cells: thin, flat cells that resemble "fish scales" under the microscope.

Patients are typically male, with a long history of smoking. Lesions are typically central (near hilar nodes), with cavitating lesions seen on X-ray or CT.

Notably, these tumors can ectopically secrete PTH-related protein (PTHrP),resulting in parathyroid-like hypercalcemia and hypophosphatemia . Labs show increased calcium, decreased PTH (compensatory response to PTHrP), and low to normal vitamin D levels.

Pathology on tumor biopsies will reveal keratin pearls and intercellular bridges.

Find Squamous Cell Carcinoma and other Lung Cancer topics among Pixorize's visual mnemonics for the USMLE Step 1 and NBME Shelf Exams.