Which histologic findings are characteristic of superficial basal cell carcinoma?

Updated: Mar 02, 2020
  • Author: Robert S Bader, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Superficial BCC appears as buds of basaloid cells attached to the undersurface of the epidermis. Nests of various sizes are often seen in the upper dermis. The tumor cell aggregates typically show peripheral palisading.

The (multifocal) superficial type (see the image below) is characterized by numerous small nests of tumor cells usually attached to the undersurface of the epidermis by a broad base. Approximately 10-15% of all BCCs are of this type. This is the most common pattern seen in BCCs of the shoulder.

Histology of superficial basal cell carcinoma. Nes Histology of superficial basal cell carcinoma. Nests of basaloid cells are seen budding from the undersurface of the epidermis. Courtesy of Michael L Ramsey, MD.

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