Definition of spinalioma

A spinalioma is a malignant degeneration of the cells on the skin surface with uncontrolled growth that requires immediate treatment.

Causes and forms

Malignant degeneration of the skin cells

Spinalioma, along with basalioma, is one of the most common and common malignant skin diseases in Germany. Spinalioma is also known as white skin cancer and is thus differentiated from melanoma, black skin cancer. The spinalioma originates from the top layer of skin, which is also known as the prickly cell layer (Stratum spinosum) referred to as. The tumor does not spread in depth but in width and is therefore also referred to as a horizontally growing tumor.
In some exceptional cases, however, deep growth can still occur, in which soft tissue under the skin and even bones can be affected by the tumor. Metastasis of the spinalioma rarely occurs and when it does, it occurs in a very advanced state.
The main cause of this is chronic exposure to the sun on unprotected skin. For this reason, the disease usually affects skin areas that are not covered by clothing, i.e. the face, forehead and arms. In addition, spinaliomas can develop from a chronic wound or scar. For this reason, abnormalities near scars or wounds should definitely be examined dermatologically.

Read more on this topic at: Skin cancer


The diagnosis is usually made through the visual diagnosis of the specialist in dermatology. However, since skin tumors can look and behave differently, a few more tests must be carried out in order to be able to make the final diagnosis. The question of the rate of growth is particularly important. While a tumor that grows slowly for months or years tends to suggest a benign disease, a skin tumor that develops within a few days or weeks can indicate a spinalioma. However, before the final diagnosis can be made, a histological examination must be performed. To do this, the suspicious area in the skin is removed and examined under a microscope. Only here can the final diagnosis be made.

Read more on the subject at: How do you recognize skin cancer?

The therapy of a spinalioma

There are numerous treatment approaches, but they should be assessed differently for the treatment of a spinalioma. An attempt can be made to destroy the suspicious skin area by means of icing. This so-called cryotherapy, however, has the disadvantage that a biopsy can no longer be obtained because the defective skin has been almost completely destroyed.
The skin tumor can also be destroyed using radiation therapy, which is carried out using X-rays. Here, too, there is the problem of not obtaining a biopsy. This is one of the main reasons why complete surgical removal is still the most common today. This has the advantages that skin samples can be examined in the laboratory and that it can be checked whether the diseased skin areas have also been completely removed. If the microscopic image shows healthy skin areas as well as diseased skin areas, you know that the tumor has been completely hit. In addition to the classic surgical procedures for removing skin areas, cutting techniques using lasers have also been available for several years. The results are comparably good.

Risk factors

Patients who are often, especially at risk of developing a spinalioma unprotectedto expose to the sun. Furthermore, patients are with a weakened immune system more often affected by spinaliomas. These patients either have immunocompromising therapy (cortisone, chemotherapy) or an immune-weakening disease, such as HIV. Also plays genetic component play a major role in the development of a spinalioma. This is one of the reasons why the patient survey should always find out whether the family has ever developed skin cancer.


Spinaliomas, along with basaliomas, are the most common skin diseases in Germany. A spinalioma is a malignant disease of the top layer of the skin (Prickly cell layer) Especially genetically predisposed patients, immunocompromised patients and those who frequently and unprotected expose themselves to the sun, have an increased risk of developing this skin disease. A spinalioma typically grows in width, but in some cases can also grow in depth and encompass soft tissues and bones. Metastasis only occurs in very advanced stages. The diagnosis is made by means of a visual diagnosis, medical questioning and biopsy. The treatment of choice is surgical removal of the affected skin area.