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Abstract

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer in white populations with an increasing incidence worldwide, thereby imposing an important public health problem. Its etiology is still unclear, but existing data indicate that the risk for BCC development is of multifactorial origin and results from the interplay of both constitutional and environmental factors. Yet, UV radiation (UVR) is believed to be the predominant causative risk factor in the pathogenesis of BCC. For years, BCC and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) have been grouped together as “nonmelanoma skin cancer.” However, it seems that there are considerable biologic differences between BCC and SCC, and thus each type of epithelial cancer should be addressed separately. The present review provides an overview of the intriguing etiologic link of BCC with UVR and attempts a comprehensive review of recent epidemiologic and molecular evidence that supports this association.