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Pigmented Basal Cell Carcinomas Studied

Pigmented lesions found to require a smaller surgical margin than non-pigmented lesions

FRIDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- For complete tumor resection, pigmented basal cell carcinomas (PBCC) require a smaller surgical margin than non-pigmented basal cell carcinomas (NPBCC), according to the results of a study published in the November issue of Dermatologic Surgery.

Satoru Aoyagi, M.D., of the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine in Sapporo, Japan, and a colleague conducted a prospective study of 345 Mohs micrographic basal cell carcinoma surgical cases and identified 67 of them as PBCC.

The researchers found that the total mean surgical margin was smaller in the PBCC group than in the NPBCC group (3.89 mm versus 5.85 mm). They found an even more significant group difference in lesions smaller than 2 cm (3.32 mm versus 5.33 mm), and also between aggressive and non-aggressive histologically diagnosed groups (3.13 mm versus 5.01 mm).

"The significance of these results is that the tumor borders in PBCC are often more distinct because of the pigment and the fact that an infiltrative growth pattern is less common than in the NPBCC," the authors write. "Furthermore, the mean preoperative tumor size was smaller in the PBCC group than the NPBCC group. Confusing a dark-colored, pigmented lesion with melanoma on the face, or a lesion with more obvious changes, prompts patients to see clinicians sooner than otherwise. This leads to the treatment of each tumor in the early growth stage."

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