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Dermatol Surg. 1999 Jan;25(1):63-7.

Linear basal cell carcinoma: report of seventeen cases and review of the presentation and treatment.

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Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.



Linear basal cell carcinoma was first described as a distinct clinical morphologic variant in 1985. Subsequently, twelve cases were reported.


To review and identify cases of linear basal cell carcinoma in our institutions and determine optimal treatment based on review of our cases and those in the literature.


Primary basal cell carcinomas treated at the three campuses of Mayo Clinic and the University of Montreal were reviewed retrospectively, as were the twelve cases in the literature.


Seventeen cases of linear basal cell carcinoma were identified. The age and sex ratios were similar to those of patients with standard basal cell carcinomas. Based on the review of the few reported cases of linear basal cell carcinoma (29), the percentage of aggressive histologic subtypes (38%) was increased compared with that in a general population. The average number of Mohs layers required for treatment was higher than that reported for standard basal cell carcinoma, an indication of increased subclinical spread.


Linear basal cell carcinoma is an uncommonly recognized morphologic variant. Based on the small number of cases, these tumors have more aggressive histologic subtypes. Because of the possibility for increased subclinical spread, Mohs micrographic surgery can be considered for treatment. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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