Squamous Papilloma


Squamous cell papilloma or squamous papilloma is defined as a benign or noncancerous tumor that grows like small warts in the surface of the skin. The growths are commonly found on different areas of the body but are usually seen in the mouth or genital regions.

squamous papilloma tongue

The tumors are mostly present because of a human papillomavirus (HPV) but they are not contagious. The squamous papilloma is made up of mucous-producing tissues and they can be red or pink in color caused by too much production of keratin, and they have rounded or pointed ends.

The size of the growth is typically an inch or 2.5cm, which make it difficult to find sometimes. Infections on the skin are termed as warts, while genital infections are called genital warts. An oral papilloma often recurs and as a result, the respiratory tract can be at risk if they overpopulate the throat.

The conjunctival squamous cell papilloma is commonly found in young adults or children and is transmitted when the virus of the mother is passed onto her child during childbirth.

Symptoms of Squamous Papilloma

The non-cancerous growths of squamous cell papilloma rarely cause any symptoms. Wherever the growths are located, it often does not cause any pain although they can be present for a long period of time especially the ones in the mouth.

The patient can experience dysphagia which involves the difficulty in swallowing in cases when the tumors become larger, displeasing, or abnormal and affecting the throat.

Causes of Squamous Papilloma

Infections of the squamous cells found in the epithelium of the skin are mostly responsible for the growths, specifically the human papillomavirus. These are double-stranded DNA viruses that are very efficient since they can merge with the host’s own DNA.

The lesions are thought to be influenced by HPV-6 and HPV-11. These two subtypes are not linked with any precancer cell or malignancy. Both the oral and conjunctival papilloma is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).  If the lesion is in the throat, it may sometimes lead to cancer but in the mouth, none has been reported yet.


The lesions could appear anytime at any age in a person’s life but are traditionally seen in people between the ages of 30 to 50 years old. The growths can even affect any part in the mouth; but are common on the inside surface of the cheek, lips, and tongue.

A pathologist can diagnose a person by the clinical features of squamous cell papilloma. The lesion is soft that has a narrow stalk with some pointed finger-like projections. These projections can either be long, short and rounded if the keratin protein has formed around the lesion. It can also be white in color, similar to that of a cauliflower head if the lesions are heavily keratinized.

How is Squamous Papilloma Treated?

The lesions caused by squamous cell papilloma reported no malignancy transformations, spreading to other parts of the oral cavity, or constant enlargement in patients who had left the growths untreated.

Leaving the lesions alone without any consequences being experienced commonly occurs if the skin growth is non-intrusive. On the other hand, if the lesions are large in size, then a medical appointment with the physician must be considered to get rid of the probability of malignancy.

The physician might recommend keratinolytic agents that contain lactic acid or liquid nitrogen for benign cases. A conservative surgical excision can also be performed to remove the base and the head of the growth.


The recurrence of the tumor is not common although there is a small proportion of a treated case where the growths recurred again. Lesions do not progress to malignancy and are not life-threatening. About 2/3 of the growths among individuals disappear spontaneously in a span of two years, mainly those in children. With the proper treatment and management of the growths, the person will be fine.


  1. Squamous cell papilloma of the mouth and throat at http://www.dermnetnz.org/lesions/squamous-papilloma.html
  2. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-squamous-papilloma.htm
  3. http://www.maxillofacialcenter.com/BondBook/mucosa/papilloma.html
  4. Bacelieri R, Johnson SM (2005). “Cutaneous warts: An evidence-based approach to therapy”. American family physician 72 (4): 647–652.
  5. Muñoz N, Bosch FX, Castellsagué X, Díaz M, de Sanjose S, Hammouda D, Shah KV, Meijer CJ (2004-08-20). “Against which human papillomavirus types shall we vaccinate and screen? The international perspective”. Int J Cancer 111 (2): 278–85.
  6. de Villiers EM, Fauquet C, Broker TR, Bernard HU, zur Hausen H (Jun 2004). “Classification of papillomaviruses”. Virology 324 (1): 17–27.

Similar Posts:

Posted in Cancer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.