Risk Factors and Outcomes of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer in Children and Young Adults

J Pediatr. 2019 Aug:211:152-158. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2019.04.017. Epub 2019 May 15.


Objective: To identify risk factors associated with nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) occurrence and survival in children.

Study design: This was a multicenter, retrospective, case-control study of patients <20 years of age diagnosed with NMSC between 1995 and 2015 from 11 academic medical centers. The primary outcome measure was frequency of cases and controls with predisposing genetic conditions and/or iatrogenic exposures, including chemotherapy, radiation, systemic immunosuppression, and voriconazole.

Results: Of the 124 children with NMSC (40 with basal cell carcinoma, 90 with squamous cell carcinoma), 70% had at least 1 identifiable risk factor. Forty-four percent of the cases had a predisposing genetic condition or skin lesion, and 29% had 1 or more iatrogenic exposures of prolonged immunosuppression, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or voriconazole use. Prolonged immunosuppression and voriconazole use were associated with squamous cell carcinoma occurrence (cases vs controls; 30% vs 0%, P = .0002, and 15% vs 0%, P = .03, respectively), and radiation therapy and chemotherapy were associated with basal cell carcinoma occurrence (both 20% vs 1%, P < .0001). Forty-eight percent of initial skin cancers had been present for >12 months prior to diagnosis and 49% of patients were diagnosed with ≥2 skin cancers. At last follow-up, 5% (6 of 124) of patients with NMSC died. Voriconazole exposure was noted in 7 cases and associated with worse 3-year overall survival (P = .001).

Conclusions: NMSC in children and young adults is often associated with a predisposing condition or iatrogenic exposure. High-risk patients should be identified early to provide appropriate counseling and management.

Keywords: basal cell nevus syndrome; chemotherapy; genodermatosis; iatrogenic; prolonged immunosuppression; radiation therapy; voriconazole; xeroderma pigmentosum.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antifungal Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Voriconazole / adverse effects
  • Young Adult


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Voriconazole