Importance of Both Clinical and Dermoscopic Findings in Predicting High-Risk Histopathological Subtype in Facial Basal Cell Carcinomas

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Importance of Both Clinical and Dermoscopic Findings in Predicting High-Risk Histopathological Subtype in Facial Basal Cell Carcinomas



Basal cell carcinoma, Dermoscopy, Clinical decision-making, Interobserver agreement, Mohs micrographic surgery, Algorithm


Introduction: Being able to recognize high-risk facial basal cell carcinoma (BCC) may lead to fewer incomplete excisions and inappropriate treatments.

Objectives: We sought to investigate clinical and dermoscopic criteria for predicting facial BCC subtypes, analyze the interobserver agreement between readers, and develop a diagnostic algorithm to predict high-risk histopathological subtype.

Methods: In this single-center, retrospective investigation, 6 independent readers evaluated predefined clinical and dermoscopic criteria in images of histopathologically verified primary facial BCCs including: topography, border demarcation, vessels, ulceration, white porcelain areas, shiny white blotches and strands, and pigmented structures and vessels within ulceration.

Results: Overall, 297 clinical and dermoscopic image pairs were analyzed. The strongest associations with high-risk subtype were: “bumpy” topography (OR 3.8, 95% CI, 3.1-4.7), ill-defined borders (OR 3.4, 95% CI 3.1-4.7), white porcelain area (OR 3.5, 95% CI 2.8-4.5), and vessels within ulceration (OR 3.1, 95% CI 2.4-4.1). Predominantly focused vessels were a positive diagnostic criterium for either nodular (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.3-2.2) or high-risk (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.6-2.5) subtypes and a strong negative diagnostic criterium for superficial BCC (OR 14.0, 95% CI 9.6-20.8). Interobserver agreement ranged from fair to substantial (κ=0.36 to 0.72). A diagnostic algorithm based on these findings demonstrated a sensitivity of 81.4% (95% CI, 78.9-83.7%) and a specificity of 53.3% (95% CI, 49.7-56.9%) for predicting high-risk BCC subtype.

Conclusions: Integration of both clinical and dermoscopic features (including novel features such as topography and vessels within ulceration) are essential to improve subtype prediction of facial BCCs and management decisions.


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How to Cite

Importance of Both Clinical and Dermoscopic Findings in Predicting High-Risk Histopathological Subtype in Facial Basal Cell Carcinomas. Dermatol Pract Concept [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jul. 13];14(3):e2024212. Available from:

How to Cite

Importance of Both Clinical and Dermoscopic Findings in Predicting High-Risk Histopathological Subtype in Facial Basal Cell Carcinomas. Dermatol Pract Concept [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jul. 13];14(3):e2024212. Available from: