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

"Activated" keratinocyte phenotype is unifying feature in conditions which predispose to squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.

While some cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas ( SCC) arise from predisposing conditions such as burn scars, draining sinuses, and chronic, nonhealing wounds, the vast majority of these tumors arise from actinically damaged epidermis. It has been shown previously that keratinocytes within healing wounds show an "activated" immunophenotype when stained with antibodies to psi-3, involucrin, filaggrin, and cytokeratins. A similar pattern has been seen in keratinocytes from patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), in whom the incidence of cutaneous SCC is markedly increased. We tested the hypothesis that actinic keratoses (AK), recognized as precursors in the development of the majority of SCC, would show a similar activated immunophenotype when stained with the antibody panel described above. We examined 10 AK, biopsied from the facies and extremities of ten patients, ages 60 to 80, with antibodies to psi-3, involucrin, filaggrin, and AE1. All lesions examined had an immunostaining pattern indistinguishable from that seen in keratinocytes from patients with RDEB or within healing wounds. There was suprabasilar staining of keratinocytes with antibodies to psi-3 and AE1. Involucrin and filaggrin was expressed by all keratinocytes above the midstratum spinosum. Within the acrosyringia and acrotrichia, the staining pattern was that of the normal epidermis, i.e., AE1 staining of basal keratinocytes, granular layer staining of involucrin and filaggrin, and absence of psi-3 expression. These data suggest that an activated keratinocyte phenotype is a unifying feature in conditions which predispose to development of cutaneous SCC.[1]


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