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Clinical Characteristics of Basal Cell Carcinoma in African Americans

A 10-Year Retrospective Review at a Single Academic Institution

Gupta, Rishu, MD*; Gordon, Shayna L., MD; Council, M. Laurin, MD; Hurst, Eva A., MD

doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000001744
Original Article

BACKGROUND Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is an uncommon diagnosis in African Americans, and as a result, there is a limited amount of data available.

OBJECTIVE We sought to describe the clinical characteristics of BCC in African Americans treated with Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS).

METHODS We performed a retrospective case series in an ambulatory referral center at a single academic institution from 2007 to 2017 to characterize BCCs in African Americans treated with MMS.

RESULTS A total of 17 patients, who identified as black or African American, with 18 BCCs were included for analysis. Patients were predominantly female (82%) with a mean age at diagnosis of 61 years. Seventy-eight percent of tumors were located in the head and neck region with 50% of BCCs located in high-risk areas. The average preoperative and postoperative defect size was 1.78 and 5.90 cm2, respectively, with a mean number of 2.2 Mohs stages required for tumor clearance. One patient had Gorlin syndrome.

CONCLUSION The presented retrospective review adds to limited available reported studies regarding BCC in African Americans to potentially aid in early recognition of these tumors.

*Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri;

The Dermatology Center of Indiana, Plainfield, Indiana;

Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, Center for Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Eva A. Hurst, MD, Center for Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery, 969 North Mason Road, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO, 63141, or e-mail

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

© 2019 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
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