The Bcl-xL inhibitor of apoptosis is preferentially expressed in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma compared with that in keratoacanthoma



Keratoacanthoma (KA) is difficult to histologically distinguish from squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Therefore, although KA is a benign self-resolving skin lesion, KA is commonly treated as SCC. Biomarkers to distinguish KA and SCC would thus be desirable. In search for specific markers, paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 25 SCC and 64 KA were arranged in a tissue microarray (TMA) and stained for immunologic cell-markers CD3, CD20 and CD68 as well as for proteins considered of relevance in tumorgenesis, namely NFκB/p65, IκB-α, STAT3, p53, TRAP-1, pRB, phosphorylated pRb, Cyld, p21, p16INK4, Survivin, Bcl-xL, Caspase 3, Bak, FLK-1/VEGF-r2 and Ki-67. In addition, the tumors were tested for presence of human papillomavirus by PCR. We detected that the two lesions differed significantly in expression of Bcl-xL which was present in 84% of the SCC compared with only 15% in the KA (p < 0.001). The lower expression of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-xL in KA is consistent with a possible role of apoptosis in the regression of KA. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.