Significant differences in nonmelanoma skin cancers of the upper and lower lip.

Research paper by Aerlyn A Dawn, Naomi N Lawrence

Indexed on: 04 Jun '13Published on: 04 Jun '13Published in: Dermatologic Surgery


Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) generally have been reported to be more prevalent on the lips than basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), but in our experience, BCCs of the lips are common, particularly in women.To determine the tumor characteristics of lip SCCs and BCCs, including tumor type, anatomic location, and size; and to identify the relationship between patient characteristics, including age and sex, and lip tumor characteristics.Retrospective review of all BCCs and SCCs located on the lip treated between January 1995 and October 2010.Of 470 lip nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) identified, 71.4% were BCCs, and 28.6% were SCCs. Lower lip tumors were predominantly SCCs (79.8%, p < .01), whereas upper lip tumors were predominantly BCCs (85.7%, p < .01). Patients with lower lip tumors were significantly older (68.8 vs. 64.7, p = .02) and were largely male (70.8%, p < .01). Patients with SCCs were mostly male (62.2%, p = .02), whereas those with BCCs were predominantly female (68.8%, p < .01). Subgroup analysis showed that upper lip tumors were 98.1% cutaneous or more than 50% cutaneous, whereas 56.3% of lower lip tumors were mucosal or more than 50% mucosal; 87.1% of mucosal tumors were SCCs, whereas 83.6% of cutaneous tumors were BCCs (p < .01). Seventy-one percent of patients with mucosal tumors were men, whereas 67% of patients with cutaneous only tumors were women (p < .01).These data provide evidence of significant differences in patient and tumor characteristics between NMSCs of the upper and lower lips.