Genetics and risk factors for basal cell carcinoma

Br J Dermatol. 2006 May;154 Suppl 1:5-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2006.07229.x.


Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the commonest cancer in whites and its incidence is increasing worldwide. The prevalence of this cancer is predicted to equal that of all others combined and it was estimated that there were over 2 million cases diagnosed in the U.S.A. in 2004. Patients exhibit marked differences in clinical phenotype with variations in tumour numbers, rate of tumour accrual, site and histological subtype. Furthermore, patients are at increased risk of other cutaneous and noncutaneous cancers. The factors accounting for this variation are complex and still not completely understood. Clearly, ultraviolet light (UV) exposure is a major influence but its relationship to clinical phenotype is not yet clear. In addition, immunosuppression is a significant risk factor. Our group has identified high-risk groups for the development of further basal cell carcinoma (BCC), namely patients with truncal BCC and those presenting with tumour clusters. This presentation will concentrate on these clinical subgroups as well as immunosuppressed patients. These groups represent significant management challenges and are areas where novel, nonsurgical treatment options may make a significant clinical impact in patient care. The risk factors predisposing to these clinical phenotypes will be discussed, including genetic factors and UV exposure. Potential clinical applications, including predictive indices, will be considered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / etiology*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects