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May 1997

Differences in Age and Body Site Distribution of the Histological Subtypes of Basal Cell CarcinomaA Possible Indicator of Differing Causes

Author Affiliations


From the Dermatology Unit, Alfred Hospital, Prahran (Drs McCormack and Kelly) and Dorevitch Pathology Laboratories, Melbourne (Dr Dorevitch), Victoria, Australia.

Arch Dermatol. 1997;133(5):593-596. doi:10.1001/archderm.1997.03890410049006

Objective:  To assess if there are any significant differences in the sex, anatomical site, and age distribution of patients with different histological subtypes of basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

Design:  Histopathology reports were analyzed with respect to the subtype of BCC, site of a tumor, and age and sex of a patient.

Setting:  Histopathology reports were reviewed from 1 private laboratory that derived its cases from general practitioners, surgeons, and dermatologists.

Patients:  Patients with BCC (N=3885) for whom case data were received by the pathology laboratory from January 2, 1991, to June 12, 1991, were included in the study.

Interventions:  None.

Main Outcome Measures:  Superficial BCCs differed from other subtypes of BCC by occurring more commonly on the trunk and in younger patients.

Results:  The mean age (56.8 years) of the patients with superficial BCCs was significantly lower than that of the patients with other subtypes of BCC who were examined (P<.001); the mean ages of the patients with these other subtypes were as follows: nodulosuperficial BCC, 62.9 years; nodular BCC, 63.9 years; nodulomorpheic BCC, 66.1 years; and morpheic BCC, 66.0 years. The majority of superficial BCCs occurred on the trunk and limbs (73.3%), while the majority of all other subtypes occurred on the head and neck.

Conclusions:  Superficial BCC differs from the other subtypes of BCC in terms of patient age and tumor site, and these findings may reflect differences in the etiology.Arch Dermatol. 1997;133:593-596