Erythroplasia of Queyrat is an early form of skin cancer found on the penis. The cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma in situ. Squamous cell cancer in situ can occur on any part of the body. This term is used only when the cancer occurs on the penis.
The condition is most often seen in men who have not been circumcised. It is linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV).
The main symptoms are a rash and irritation on the tip or shaft of the penis that persists. The area is most often red and does not respond to topical creams.
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will examine the penis to diagnose the condition and will perform a biopsy to make the diagnosis.
Treatment may include:
- Skin creams such as imiquimod or 5-fluorouracil. These creams are used for several weeks to months.
- Anti-inflammatory (steroid) creams.
If skin creams do not work, your provider may recommend other treatments such as:
- Mohs micrographic surgery or other surgical procedures to remove the area
- Laser surgery
- Freezing the cancer cells (cryotherapy)
- Scraping away cancer cells and using electricity to kill any that remain (curettage and electrodesiccation)
The prognosis for cure is excellent in most cases.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
You should contact your provider if you have rashes or sores on the genitalia that do not go away.
Habif TP. Premalignant and malignant nonmelanoma skin tumors. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 21.
Regan TD, Lawrence N. Bowen's disease and erythroplasia of Queyrat. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson IH, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 31.
Review Date 7/25/2017
Updated by: David L. Swanson, MD, Vice Chair of Medical Dermatology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.