Basal cell carcinoma on the ear is more likely to be of an aggressive phenotype in both men and women

Published:August 29, 2011DOI:


      We observed that basal cell carcinoma (BCC) on the ear demonstrates a more aggressive phenotype compared with other body sites.


      We sought to determine if it is statistically significant that BCC on the ear is more aggressive.


      We queried our 2009 database for all BCCs biopsied from the ear. Multiple data points, including tumor subtype and risk level, were analyzed for 100 BCCs on the ear and 100 BCCs on the cheek.


      BCC on the ear was diagnosed 471 times. Of the first 100 occurrences of BCC on the ear, 57% were high risk compared with 38% on the cheek (odds ratio 2.16, 95% confidence interval 1.23-3.81, P = .01). Men were more likely to have BCC on the ear: 79% male on the ear and 53% male on the cheek (P < .001). However, BCC on the ear in women is also more likely to be aggressive (57%, 12 of 21).


      The data were retrieved from a single year at our institution, and there could potentially be regional bias given that the population of data is from a single institution. Many of the specimens we evaluate are reviewed in consultation and may thus represent a selection bias.


      BCC on the ear presents as an aggressive phenotype in the majority of cases for both men and women, and it occurs much more frequently in men. Knowledge of this information can help guide physicians and ensure that these tumors are adequately biopsied and treated.

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