Metastatic basal cell carcinoma: report of two cases and literature review

J Cutan Med Surg. 2005 Jan;9(1):10-5. doi: 10.1007/s10227-005-0027-1.


Background: Metastatic basal cell carcinoma (MBCC) is defined as primary cutaneous basal cell carcinoma (BCC) that spreads to distant sites as histologically similar metastatic deposits of BCC. There are less than 300 reported cases of MBCC in the literature.

Methods: This article examines two cases of MBCC and provides a literature review of risk factors inherent in epidemiology, patient demographics, and the clinicohistopathological characteristics of primary and metastatic BCC lesions.

Results: MBCC is a rare complication of BCC with high morbidity and mortality rates. Patients with MBCC often begin with long-standing primary BCC lesions that are either large or recurrent after treatment. Cases of MBCC have a higher incidence of the more aggressive histologic patterns (morpheic, infiltrating, metatypical, and basosquamous). Perineural space invasion may be an indicator of aggressive disease. Metastases often involve regional lymph nodes, lungs, bone, and skin.

Conclusion: These case reports and review provide important diagnostic and management considerations for primary BCC and MBCC. Early intervention with aggressive treatment measures may improve the prognosis and survival of MBCC patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / therapy*
  • Facial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Facial Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mohs Surgery
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local