Veterinary Society of
Surgical Oncology

General Considerations

  • benign tumor arising from basal cells of the epidermis, hair follicles, or sweat or sebaceous glands
  • basal cell carcinomas may be induced by ultraviolet radiation
  • sites: head, neck, and shoulders
  • gross appearance: solitary, well-circumscribed, freely movable, and pigmented, solid, or cystic ± ulcerated in cats
  • metastasis is rare but local tumor recurrence after incomplete excision is possible
  • treatment: surgery or cryosurgery (if < 1 cm)
  • prognosis: excellent

Feline Basal Cell Carcinoma

  • basal cell carcinomas are more common in cats (representing 11%-28% of skin tumors and 3%-6% of all feline tumors) and is the most common melanotic tumor of cats
  • mean age 10-11 years
  • no breed or sex predilection
  • histologic subclassification: solid, cystic, ribbon, and medusoid
  • basal cell carcinomas have a benign biologic behaviour
  • 10% are classified as malignant but 1% (1/97) local tumor recurrence rate and 0% (0/124) metastasis rate
  • malignant basal cell carcinoma has been reported in 2 cats


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