Current Trends in Management of Marjolin's Ulcer: A Systematic Review

Aditi M. Kanth, Adee J. Heiman, Lakshmi Nair, Alexa Giammarino, Courtney Carpenter, Joseph A. Ricci, Ashit Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Marjolin's ulcer (MU) is a rare, aggressive entity with frequent delay in diagnosis for a variety of regions. Although well described and classically taught in medical school, aspects of its treatment remain ill-defined and controversial. A systematic review was performed according to PRISMA guidelines to identify studies discussing patients who underwent surgical treatment of MU. A total of 31 papers, reporting on 1016 patients, were included. Burns were the most common etiology of malignant degeneration (68%), followed by trauma. The lower extremity was most affected (51%) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) was found in 94% of cases, with the majority being well differentiated. Basal cell carcinoma and melenoma composed a minority of cases. Melanoma occurred more frequently in previously skin grafted wounds and had a higher rate of metastases than SCC. Most patients did not have associated regional or distant metastases present at diagnosis. Wide local excision (71%) was performed in most cases, unless amputation was indicated for severe disease or bone involvement. Lymphadenectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy were variably reported, with conflicting evidence on the efficacy. Lymphadenectomy was most commonly indicated for known lymph node involvement. In cases of metastatic disease chemotherapy and radiation were used in conjunction with surgical treatment. Despite numerous articles on this topic, controversy remains in the management of MU. Early diagnosis of suspicious chronic wounds and prompt surgical intervention remains imperative to its treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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