Basosquamous Carcinoma: Comprehensive Clinical and Histopathological Aspects, Novel Imaging Tools, and Therapeutic Approaches

Cells. 2023 Nov 30;12(23):2737. doi: 10.3390/cells12232737.


Basosquamous carcinoma (BSC), an uncommon and aggressive nonmelanoma skin cancer exhibiting characteristics ranging from basal cell carcinoma (BCC) to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), is a subject of controversy in terms of its classification, pathogenesis, histologic morphology, biologic behavior, prognosis, and management. This narrative review is based on an electronic search of English-language articles in PubMed that included the terms "basosquamous carcinoma" and/or "metatypical carcinoma of the skin" in their titles. The review aims to succinctly present and assess current data on the epidemiology, clinical presentation, dermoscopic, LC-OCT, and histopathologic characteristics, as well as the genetics and management of BSC, providing insight into this intriguing entity. As a conclusion, dermoscopy, deep incisional biopsies, and immunohistologic techniques should be applied in clinically suspicious lesions to achieve an early diagnosis and better prognosis of this tumor. Surgical treatments, including wide excision and Mohs' micrographic surgery, remain the treatment of choice. Finally, Hedgehog pathway inhibitors and checkpoint inhibitors, must be thoroughly investigated with large controlled trials, since they may offer an alternative solution to irresectable or difficult-to-treat locally advanced cases of basosquamous carcinoma.

Keywords: LC-OCT; Mohs’ micrographic surgery; basosquamous carcinoma; biologic behavior; cemiplimab; dermoscopy; diagnosis; genetics; histopathology; metatypical basal cell carcinoma; nivolumab; pembrolizumab; sonidegib; treatment; vismodegib.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Basosquamous* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Basosquamous* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Basosquamous* / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / pathology
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Humans
  • Skin Neoplasms* / pathology


  • Hedgehog Proteins

Grants and funding

This study was supported by the Italian Ministry of Health (Ricerca Corrente 2023)/Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.