Eyelid other tumors
Basal cell carcinoma of eyelid

Author: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 7 May 2018, last major update February 2014

Copyright: (c) 2004-2018, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Basal cell carcinoma [title] eyelid [title]

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Cite this page: Pernick, N. Eyelid: basal cell carcinoma of eyelid. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/eyeeyelidbasalcellcarcinoma.html. Accessed December 18th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Very common
  • 90% of eyelid malignancies
  • Probably secondary to sunlight
  • Rarely invades orbit or nose
  • Arises from cutaneous surface of eyelid (usually lower lid and medial canthus), only rarely from conjunctiva
  • Frozen section review of margins is helpful in reducing recurrence
  • Excision is important to preserve vision, since tumors may prevent proper eyelid closure and cause corneal exposure and ulceration
Case reports
Gross description
  • Ulcerated, pigmented, superficial or sclerosing
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Subtypes:
    • Nodular and nodular-ulcerative (anastomosing nests and cords of proliferative epidermal basal cells with minimal cytoplasm, dark nuclei and nuclear palisading at periphery)
    • Cystic (central necrosis with cystic spaces)
    • Multicentric
    • Morphea (infiltrates into dermis as branching cords of cells within a dense stroma; margins are difficult to assess clinically)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on PathOut server:
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Adenoid type has lobules
with a cribriform pattern
and marginal palisading
of basaloid cells

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Metatypical type has
islands of squamous
cell differentiation
within a basaloid tumor

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Morphea type in patient with heritable retinoblastoma: atrophic epidermis overlies irregular clusters of infiltrative basaloid cells

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Nodular type with solid
lobules of neoplastic
basaloid cells

Differential diagnosis