Association of Multiple Aggregated Yellow-White Globules with Nonpigmented Basal Cell Carcinoma

Cristian Navarrete-Dechent, Konstantinos Liopyris, Ayelet Rishpon, Nadeem G. Marghoob, Miguel Cordova, Stephen W. Dusza, Aditi Sahu, Kivanc Kose, Margaret Oliviero, Harold Rabinovitz, Klaus J. Busam, Michael A. Marchetti, Chih Chan J. Chen, Ashfaq A. Marghoob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Importance: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer. Dermoscopic imaging has improved diagnostic accuracy; however, diagnosis of nonpigmented BCC remains limited to arborizing vessels, ulceration, and shiny white structures. Objective: To assess multiple aggregated yellow-white (MAY) globules as a diagnostic feature for BCC. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this retrospective, single-center, case-control study, nonpigmented skin tumors, determined clinically, were identified from a database of lesions consecutively biopsied during a 7-year period (January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2015). A subset of tumors was prospectively diagnosed, and reflectance confocal microscopy, optical coherence tomography, and histopathologic correlation were performed. Data analysis was conducted from July 1 to September 31, 2019. Exposures: Investigators evaluated for the presence or absence of known dermoscopic criteria. MAY globules were defined as aggregated, white-yellow structures visualized in polarized and nonpolarized light. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the diagnostic accuracy of MAY globules for the diagnosis of BCC. Secondary objectives included the association with BCC location and subtype. Interrater agreement was estimated. Results: A total of 656 nonpigmented lesions from 643 patients (mean [SD] age, 63.1 [14.9] years; 381 [58.1%] male) were included. In all, 194 lesions (29.6%) were located on the head and neck. A total of 291 (44.4%) were BCCs. MAY globules were seen in 61 of 291 BCC cases (21.0%) and in 3 of 365 other diagnoses (0.8%) (P <.001). The odds ratio for diagnosis of BCC was 32.0 (96% CI, 9.9-103.2). The presence of MAY globules was associated with a diagnosis of histologic high-risk BCC (odds ratio, 6.5; 95% CI, 3.1-14.3). The structure was never seen in cases of superficial BCCs. Conclusions and Relevance: The findings suggest that MAY globules may have utility as a new BCC dermoscopic criterion with a high specificity. MAY globules were negatively associated with superficial BCC and positively associated with deeper-seated, histologic, higher-grade tumor subtypes..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)882-890
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA Dermatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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