Basal Cell Carcinoma on Ear Significantly More Aggressive

BCC on ear primarily occurs in men, but aggressive phenotype seen in both men and women

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) on the ear is significantly more likely to be aggressive, and occurs more frequently in men, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

To investigate whether BCC on the ear is significantly more aggressive, Abel D. Jarell, M.D., and Thaddeus W. Mully, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, reviewed the 2009 database for all BCC biopsied from the ear. Tumor subtype, risk level, and other data points were analyzed for 100 BCCs on the ear and 100 BCCs on the cheek.

The researchers found that BCC was diagnosed on the ear 471 times. High-risk BCC was seen in 57 percent of the first 100 occurrences of BCC on the ear, compared with 38 percent on the cheek (odds ratio, 2.16). Men were significantly more likely to have BCC on the ear: 79 percent on the ear versus 53 percent on the cheek. For women, BCC on the ear was also more likely to be aggressive (57 percent).

"Although BCC occurs on the ear with much greater frequency in men, BCCs on the ear in both men and women are more likely than not to be of an aggressive phenotype," the authors write. "Medical providers performing biopsies on the ear of lesions suspicious for malignancy should ensure that an adequate specimen is obtained, as deeper, more aggressive subtypes may not be seen with superficial biopsy specimens."

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