A Giant Cutaneous Horn: One of the Largest Recorded

July 2019 | Volume 18 | Issue 7 | Case Reports | 697 | Copyright © July 2019

Dillon Nussbaum BSc, Julia Schwartz MD, Adam Friedman MD FAAD

George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC 

Cutaneous horns, or “cornu cutaneum” in Latin, are described first in the 16th century, those with horns at the time were used for show. Horns are common among various animals; the main distinction of animal horns and cutaneous horns are animal horns tend to grow off bones giving them strength and cutaneous horns have no bony structure. Similarly, animal horns tend to be common among a species and the same cannot be said for cutaneous horns in humans.4 All human cutaneous horns are pathologic in nature and require a diagnostic biopsy. Again, the differential diagnosis consists of a cutaneous horn secondary to a verruca, squamous or basal cell carcinoma, or actinic keratosis. Further treatment may be required if the origin is malignant and extending to the margins of the biopsy or if the initial biopsy does not resolve an underlying verruca or actinic keratosis. Previous literature may indicate that the larger and more structured a cutaneous horn appears may point to a verrucous, rather than malignant origin but more inquiry needs to be conducted to affirm such an association.


The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.



  1. Gould JW, Brodell RT. Giant cutaneous horn associated with verruca vulgaris. Cutis. 1999;64(2):111-112. 
  2. Sanjeeva KK, Ali P, Pinto M, Rao S, Rai AS. Giant cutaneous horn overlying a verruca at an uncommon site: medical marvel vs superstitious dilemma. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015;9(4):PD13-14. 
  3. Chen W, Wei W, Yan-Jun L, et al. Multiple huge cutaneous horns overlying verrucae vulgaris induced by human papillomavirus type 2: a case report. Wiley Online Library. Br J Dermatol. 2018;156(4). 
  4. Bondeson J. Everard Home, John Hunter, and cutaneous horns: a historical review. Am J Dermatopathol. 2001;23(4):362-369. 


Adam J. Friedman MD ajfriedman@mfa.gwu.edu