Background: We aim to examine p63 expression in basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and to investigate association with their histopathological differentiation subtypes.
Methods: Eighty-four BCCs were classified according to the histopathologic differentiation subtypes. Immunohistochemistry using monoclonal antibody against p63 was performed.
Results: In nontumoral skin, p63 expression was consistently seen in basal/suprabasal cells of epidermis, hair matrix cells, and outer root sheath of the hair follicle. In BCCs, the cases were distributed as 47 undifferentiated, 28 differentiated (16 adenoid and 12 keratotic), and nine superficial. The nuclear p63 expression was negative in two cases, whereas 64 BCCs (76.2%) showed homogeneous p63 immunostaining. There was no statistically significant difference between p63 expression and histological differentiation subtypes (p > 0.05). The expression of p63 was found strongly and diffuse in 72.3% of solid undifferentiated and 82.1% differentiated and in 77.8% of superficial type BCCs.
Conclusions: p63 is consistently expressed in epidermal basal/suprabasal and adnexal basal cells. Most BCCs have higher homogeneous p63 expression than nontumoral epidermis, which is not changed according to histological differentiation subtypes. Thus, overexpression of p63 in all histological subtypes may confirm that basaloid progenitor cells are linked tumor-cell lineage and have a role in the tumorigenesis of BCC.