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Can Basal Cell Carcinoma Manifest Secondary to Post-Traumatic Scarring?

By: Vanessa A. Carter, BS
Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Previous skin trauma may be a possible factor in the development of basal cell carcinoma. Jacek Szepietowski, MD, PhD, of Wroclaw Medical University, Poland, and colleagues investigated the incidence of basal cell carcinoma secondary to trauma in patients who were treated surgically. These researchers explained that although these tumors' manifestation varies between patients, they may be located in the area of a post-traumatic scar. Their 3-year experience in a single center was published in Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine.

The researchers performed a retrospective review of medical records from 1,832 treated patients with basal cell carcinoma; they identified 5 who had a tumor due to previous trauma. The data regarding patient age at treatment, lesion location, size, growth of the tumor, type of previous injury, and time between the trauma and tumor development were extracted and recorded.

The overall average patient age was 70.5 ± 13.7 years, but this cohort's average age was 61.2 ± 16.8 years. Scars were located on the foot, upper limb, and face. Injuries reported included ulceration secondary to venous insufficiency, tissue tears due to traffic accidents, burns, and repeated trauma due to blood donation; no wounds were closed surgically. It took anywhere from 5 to more than 50 years for tumors to form after injury, and time from the first symptoms noticed to diagnosis ranged from 1 to 4 years. All individuals had different clinical manifestations of basal cell carcinoma, yet they all had average sun exposure throughout their lifetimes.

Trauma-related basal cell carcinoma was reported in more men and younger patients. In this analysis, four patients were male, and one was female. Other retrospective studies have shown that previous injury has caused cancerous lesions, suggesting that trauma may be a common risk factor for basal cell carcinoma. Additionally, morpheaform basal cell carcinoma was detected more often in patients with post-traumatic disease than others.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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