The relatively undifferentiated stem cells of an epithelial sheet that give rise, by an unequal division, to another basal cell and a cell that progressively differentiates as it is displaced outward by cells produced in later divisions. In skin the basal cells of the epidermis (stratum basale) produce cells that progress through the spinous, granular, and horny layers, becoming progressively more keratinized, the outermost being shed as squames. A basal cell carcinoma (BCC, rodent ulcer) is a relatively common carcinoma, rarely metastatic, derived from the basal cells and often a result of exposure to sunlight, especially in people with fair skin. See also myoepithelial cell.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.