Burden and treatment patterns of advanced basal cell carcinoma among commercially insured patients in a United States database from 2010 to 2014

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The burden of advanced basal cell carcinoma (aBCC) is not fully understood.


To compare BCC disease burden and treatment patterns for aBCC with those for non-aBCC.


A retrospective, insurance claims–based study design was used. Adults with ≥2 claims associated with a BCC diagnosis (ICD-9-CM 173.x1) separated by ≥30 days on or after October 1, 2011, were classified as aBCC or non-aBCC by using an algorithm based on metastasis diagnosis, radiation therapy use, and medical oncologist/other specialist use. Non-aBCC and aBCC patients were matched 1:1 on the basis of age, sex, and region, and assigned the same index date (date of first qualifying diagnosis or event). Comparisons were made using Wilcoxon signed-rank (continuous variables) and McNemar's (categorical variables) tests.


In total, 847 matched aBCC/non-aBCC patient pairs were selected (mean age 75 years; 57% men; locally advanced BCC, n = 826; metastatic BCC, n = 21). During the 12-month study period following the index date, aBCC patients had a significantly higher mean Charlson Comorbidity Index (P = .0023), significantly higher mean numbers of outpatient/dermatologist/medical oncologist visits (all P < .0001), and significantly higher mean total/medical/inpatient/outpatient/BCC treatment costs (all P < .05).


This study only included information from a database on commercial insurance and Medicare claims. The algorithm criteria might have restricted patient numbers; data were not fully reflective of targeted therapy era.


aBCC patients had a higher disease burden than non-aBCC patients. Cost differences were largely driven by higher BCC treatment costs, specifically radiation therapy.

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