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14-04-2016 | Non-melanoma skin cancer | Article

Diagnosis and Management of Hereditary Basal Cell Skin Cancer

Authors: Susan Shanley, Christopher McCormack

Publisher: Springer International Publishing


Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer in Caucasians worldwide and its incidence is rising. It is generally considered a sporadic tumour, most likely to affect fair-skinned individuals exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This chapter focusses on the approach to recognising the relatively few individuals in whom a high-risk hereditary susceptibility may be present. Gorlin syndrome is the main consideration and the gene most commonly mutated is PTCH1, a key regulator of the Hedgehog developmental pathway. Recently, loss of function of another gene in the same pathway, SUFU, has been found to explain a subset of families. Understanding the pathogenesis of familial BCCs has advanced the understanding of the biology of sporadic tumours and led to targeted therapy trials. The management of familial BCCs remains a challenge due to significant unmet needs for non-surgical treatments and a high burden of disease for the individual. Together with the prospect of advances in gene discovery and translation, these challenges highlight the need for ongoing review of at-risk and affected individuals by a multidisciplinary team.

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