Usefulness of in vivo photodiagnosis for the identification of tumor margins in recurrent basal cell carcinoma of the face

Riccardo G. Borroni, Stefania Barruscotti, Andrea Carugno, Vincenzo Barbaccia, Eloisa Arbustini, Valeria Brazzelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most frequent malignant tumor of the skin. The high prevalence of BCC, the risk of local recurrence, and the difficult clinical identification of the excision margins emphasize the importance of studying new approaches, ensuring complete surgical excision that allows preservation of normal tissue, especially for BCCs located on cosmetically important areas such as the mid face. Photodiagnosis (PD) is a pre-operative technique that allows a more accurate distinction of neoplastic lesions from surrounding healthy skin in vivo. Purpose: The aim of this study is to assess the usefulness of PD for the evaluation of tumor margins in 10 patients with recurrent BCC of the face. Methods: We study the red fluorescence emitted by neoplastic tissue under a Wood's lamp irradiation, after accumulation of methyl amino levulinate (MAL) cream in 10 patients with recurrent BCC. Results: Our histologic analysis of perilesional skin by PD allowed to delineate more precise tumor margins, thus achieving radical excision in 90% of patients. Conclusion: PD represents a diagnostic method that helps to distinguish between tumor tissue and surrounding healthy tissue especially in case of recurrent BCC of the face when the clinical delimitation is not clear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalPhotodermatology Photoimmunology and Photomedicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Fluorescence diagnosis
  • Methylaminolevulinate
  • Photodiagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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