Predictors of surgical treatment burden, outcomes, and overall survival in older adults with basal cell carcinoma: Results from the prospective, multicenter BATOA cohort

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2022 May;86(5):1010-1019. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2021.05.041. Epub 2021 Jun 1.


Background: Incorporating patient-related factors associated with treatment outcomes could improve personalized care in older patients with basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

Objective: To evaluate and identify predictors of treatment burden, treatment outcomes, and overall survival in patients aged ≥70 years, surgically treated for BCC in the head and neck area.

Methods: The data from the prospective, multicenter Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment in Older Adults (BATOA) cohort study were extracted to evaluate the experienced treatment burden (visual analog scale, 0-10 cm; lower scores indicating higher treatment burden), treatment outcomes, and mortality.

Results: A total of 539 patients were included (median age, 78 years). The patients experienced a low overall treatment burden (median, 8.6) and good cosmetic results. The predictors of higher treatment burden were instrumental activities of daily living (iADL) dependency, female sex, complications, larger tumor diameter, and polypharmacy. Thirty-five patients (6.5%) died (none of the deaths were due to BCC) within the follow-up period; the predictors of mortality were increasing comorbidity index and iADL dependency. No difference in these outcomes was seen between Mohs micrographic surgery and conventional excision after correction for covariates. Age was not significantly associated with any outcome.

Limitations: A selection bias may exist owing to the observational design.

Conclusion: BCC management decisions based on chronological age alone should be avoided, whereas more attention is recommended for patient-related factors. Based on these data, early BCC intervention is beneficial for robust and fit patients or those experiencing symptoms.

Keywords: Mohs micrographic surgery; aged; basal cell carcinoma; basal cell carcinoma recurrences; complications; conventional excision; cosmetic result; elderly; facial surgery; frailty; keratinocyte carcinoma; mortality; older adults; skin cancer; surgery; survival; traditional excision; treatment burden; treatment outcomes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell* / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mohs Surgery / methods
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Prospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms* / pathology