Scanning Electron Microscopy of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Valéria Jorge M, Hiram L de Almeida Jr., Renan Pinheiro Deves, Fernando Passos da Rocha, Luis Antonio Suita de Castro


Aim: The present study describes the three-dimensional ultrastructural aspects of three solid basal cell carcinomas with scanning electron microscopy and compares the findings with light microscopy.

Material and Methods: A small fragment of the surgical piece was obtained from the three potential solid facial basal cell carcinomas, which were surgically removed and were fixed in glutaraldehyde. The diagnosis was confirmed by light microscopy. These fragments were then dehydrated and metalized and the outer surface of the dermis was examined using scanning electron microscopy.

Results: The first tumor was an adenoid subtype, cell nests with peritumoral retraction and also strands of cells with adenoid pattern were observed. The second tumor was a typically solid BCC, tumoral nests and at higher magnification peritumoral retraction were shown in a there dimensional way. The third tumor had cells with fusiform pattern in some areas. The scanning electron microscopy examination at lower magnification identified the tumor nests, with higher magnification, part of the cells showed a similar fusiform pattern.

Conclusion: The nests of neoplastic cells were easely observed, as well as the typical peritumoral retraction of basal cell carcinoma. The ultrastructural findings are similar to light microscopy and could be used to document tumor morphology in a three dimensional way.

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