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

Unusual patterns of keratin expression in the overlying epidermis of patients with dermatofibromas: biochemical alterations in the epidermis as a consequence of dermal tumors.

Dermatofibromas are frequently associated with acanthosis of the overlying epidermis. Using monospecific antisera and cRNA probes, we have examined the pattern of expression of keratin and keratin mRNA in the affected epidermis of patients with these dermal tumors. Our studies reveal several abnormalities in keratin expression within the thickened areas of overlying epidermis. In two of 15 patients, we detected K6 and K16, keratins which are frequently associated with epidermal diseases of hyperproliferation but are not present in normal epidermis. In both cases, K6 and K16 were found in suprabasal layers, similar to that seen for psoriasis and squamous cell carcinomas. Expression of K6 and K16 in skin samples from patients with dermatofibromas seemed to be dependent upon how near was the tumor to the overlying epidermis, and possibly upon the degree of cellularity within the tumor mass. A second aberration in keratin expression, and one which did not appear to be linked to K6/K16 expression, was the altered expression of the basal epidermal keratin K14. Expression of this keratin and its mRNA was variable, often extending into multiple suprabasal layers and including both basal-like and squamous-like cells. In contrast to the expression of K6/K16, aberrant expression of K14 was a relatively frequent event, occurring in greater than 70% of the dermatofibroma skin samples examined. These observations provide the first biochemical evidence in support of previous morphologic studies, indicating that alterations in epidermal differentiation can occur as a consequence of dermal skin tumors.[1]


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