Basal cell carcinoma in chronic arsenicism occurring in Queensland, Australia after ingestion of an asthma medication

Boonchai, Waranya, Green, Adele, Ng, Jack, Dicker, Anthony and Chenevix-Trench, Georgia (2001) Basal cell carcinoma in chronic arsenicism occurring in Queensland, Australia after ingestion of an asthma medication. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 43 4: 664-669. doi:10.1067/mjd.2000.107939

Author Boonchai, Waranya
Green, Adele
Ng, Jack
Dicker, Anthony
Chenevix-Trench, Georgia
Title Basal cell carcinoma in chronic arsenicism occurring in Queensland, Australia after ingestion of an asthma medication
Journal name Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0190-9622
Publication date 2001-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1067/mjd.2000.107939
Volume 43
Issue 4
Start page 664
End page 669
Total pages 6
Place of publication USA
Publisher Mosby, Inc
Collection year 2001
Language eng
Subject CX
321299 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
730210 Environmental health
321011 Medical Genetics
730108 Cancer and related disorders
Formatted abstract
Ingestion of trivalent inorganic arsenic has long been recognized as a cause of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) anti has been reported most often in Taiwan and Singapore.


Our purpose was to study the clinical and histologic characteristics of BCCs occurring in Australian Caucasians as a consequence of chronic arsenicism due to ingestion of an arsenic-containing medication.

Self-referred persons with a history of ingestion of Bell's Asthma Medication were interviewed, and skin examinations were performed. Local age- and sex-matched patients with BCCs were used to compare the distribution and histologic subtypes of BCCs in arsenic-exposed and sporadic cases.

Thirty-six persons (21 male, 15 female; mean age, 57 years) participated, all of whom had been exposed to the asthma medication early in life (mean age, 13 years) for a mean duration of 5 years. Each person had at least one cutaneous sign of chronic arsenicism, either self-reported or on examination, and all except one had a history of either BCC or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, with self-reports of 20 to 2000 skin lesions removed per person. The mean age at first presentation with a BCC Nas 33 years, but neither latency nor number of skin lesions appeared to be related to duration of exposure to arsenic. BCCs in persons exposed to arsenic occurred more often on sun-protected sites compared with BCCs in age- and sex-matched sporadic cases (P < .001), but the distribution and histologic subtypes between these two groups were similar.

We have described BCCs in arsenic-exposed Australians and shown that they occur predominantly in sun-protected locations. Although the reported number of skin lesions is very high, the latency and number do not appear to be related to the duration of arsenic exposure. The histologic types of the BCCs occurring in arsenic-exposed persons are not different from sporadic BCCs.
Keyword Skin-cancer
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Medicine Publications
National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 15 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 14 Aug 2007, 16:16:56 EST