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Research Letter
Association of VA Surgeons
May 2016

Analysis of Cases in Which a Biopsy Specimen Is Positive and an Excised Lesion Is Negative for Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Indiana University, Indianapolis
  • 2Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • 3Department of Surgery, Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 4Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University, New York
JAMA Surg. 2016;151(5):486-488. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2015.4449

Nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSCs), including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC), are the most common types of cancer with the fastest-growing treatment costs in the United States.1 Standard treatment requires biopsy for histologic confirmation, followed by excision. Oftentimes, no residual carcinoma is detected, implying spontaneous clearance at rates reported to vary from 24% to 76%.25 These types of lesions have been investigated by others25 and are not fully understood. Our study aims to determine the lesion and patient characteristics that would most strongly predict a histologically negative result for an excised lesion after a biopsy specimen had positive margins.

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