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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Intralesional interferon in basal cell carcinoma: how does it work?

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer among Caucasians, and its incidence is increasing. Intralesional injection of interferon alpha (IFN alpha) has been shown to provide a safe and effective treatment for BCCs. The predominant mechanism for the effect of IFN alpha on BCC has been partially identified. We have shown that in untreated patients, BCC cells constitutively express CD95 ligand (CD95L), but not the receptor. BCC cells make use of the CD95 ligand to escape from a local immune response by averting the attack from activated CD95 receptor-positive CD4+ T cells. The CD95L of BCC cells is functional as CD95+ target cells incubated on BCC cryosections become apoptotic and are lysed. In IFN alpha-treated patients BCC cells express not only CD95L but also CD95 receptor, and regress by committing suicide or fratricide through apoptosis induction via CD95 receptor-CD95L interaction. Peritumoral infiltrating cells, predominantly CD4+ T cells, may support regression of BCC by the secretion of cytokines such as IFN gamma or interleukin-2 which may also be responsible for the up-regulation of CD95 on BCC cells.[1]


  1. Intralesional interferon in basal cell carcinoma: how does it work? Buechner, S., Wernli, M., Bachmann, F., Harr, T., Erb, P. Recent Results Cancer Res. (2002) [Pubmed]
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