Risk Factors for Basal Cell Carcinoma Among Patients With Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome: Development of a Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome Patient Registry

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Patients with basal cell nevus syndrome (BCNS) have a greater risk of developing numerous basal cell carcinomas (BCCs). Risk factors influencing the wide variation in tumor burden are poorly understood.


To describe the burden of BCCs in patients with BCNS in the United States and identify potential risk factors for BCCs.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Prospective clinical registry with data collected from September 2014 to March 2016. Participants were recruited from a mailing list of patients with BCNS at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and Basal Cell Carcinoma Nevus Syndrome Life Support Network. Patients of all ages with a diagnosis of BCNS were eligible for enrollment. Participants completed a clinical questionnaire on their disease characteristics and risk factors.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Number of BCCs in the past 2 years and over lifetime (disease burden), risk factors for BCCs.


A consecutive sample of the first 141 participants was included (34% [100 of 297] response rate from paper survey, 23% [41 of 179] from online survey; 85 [60%] female; mean age at start of study, 53 [range, 8-83] years; 131 [93%] white). In the previous 2 years, participants reported a mean of 25 BCCs (median, 11; range, 0-250). Over their lifetime, participants reported a mean of 257 BCCs (median, 160; range, 0-2200). Univariate analysis identified age (odds ratio [OR], 1.05; 95% CI, 1.03-1.07; P < .001), number of sunburns (OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.00-1.10; P = .047), and history of radiation exposure (OR, 2.26; 95% CI, 1.02-5.03; P = .046) as potential risk factors for lifetime BCC severity. On multivariate analysis, only age (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.07; P < .001) and number of sunburns (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.00-1.11; P = .04) were statistically significant. In our adjusted models, BCC burden increased by 4% per year of age and by 6% per number of sunburns.

Conclusions and Relevance

Patients with BCNS have a high burden of BCCs. Age and number of sunburns were significantly associated with the severity of lifetime BCC. Further interventions to prevent and treat BCCs in patients with BCNS are needed.

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