Twenty-five cases of cytologic preparations from basal cell carcinomas documented by subsequent tissue material were obtained. The cases were retrospectively analyzed to evaluate the frequency of occurrence of various features that could either be helpful or misleading in the diagnosis. These features included peripheral palisading, Bowenoid nuclei, and keratinized cells. Results from the study include the fact that a major criterion for the histologic diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma (peripheral palisading) could seldom be appreciated in the cytology preparations. Large clusters of cells with crowded nuclei were found in every case and thus represent a useful cytologic parameter. However, because of the frequent absence of peripheral palisading, the study suggests there could be diagnostic confusion with lesions of small cell squamous carcinoma.