Ulcerated Basal Cell Carcinomas Masquerading as Venous Leg Ulcers

Catherine N. Tchanque-Fossuo, Jillian W. Millsop, Mary Ann Johnson, Sara E. Dahle, Roslyn Rivkah Isseroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Nonmelanoma skin cancers rarely arise from venous leg ulcers (VLUs). Although basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common nonmelanoma skin cancer, its association with lower-extremity ulcers is not as frequently reported as other malignancies. Objective: To report a case series of biopsy-proven BCC from lower-extremity ulcers of patients who presented at a multispecialty wound clinic. Methods: Four male patients (mean age, 82.75 years) with 4 chronic VLUs (duration ranging from 2 months to 10 years) underwent a biopsy of their ulcerative lesions. Results: Histologic examination of the specimens revealed 4 cases of BCC. All of the lesions were surgically excised, followed by split-thickness skin graft (n = 2) or healing by secondary intention (n = 2). All of the patients remained healed at follow-up ranging from 15 to 27 months, except for 1 patient who opted for conservative management and had not completely healed at 14 months' follow-up. Conclusions: Biopsies are warranted for any VLU with documented stalled healing following 3 months of standard of care. One biopsy is performed at the periphery of the ulcer and another at the base in order to rule out the presence of malignant transformation because of BCC, squamous cell carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma, or metastases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-134
Number of pages5
JournalAdvances in Skin and Wound Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • basal cell carcinoma
  • biopsy
  • lower-extremity wound
  • nonmelanoma skin cancers
  • venous leg ulcer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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