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Oral Oncol. 2002 Jun;38(4):323-31.

The aggressive nature of the odontogenic keratocyst: is it a benign cystic neoplasm? Part 2. Proliferation and genetic studies.

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  • 1Department of Oral Pathology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

Erratum in

  • Oral Oncol. 2004 Jan;40(1):107.


Immunocytochemical studies of the expression of PCNA, Ki67 and p53 protein have been done by different groups on sporadic keratocysts (OKCs) and OKCs associated with the naevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS). These 'markers' have in common that they are all expressed in actively proliferating cells, particularly in neoplasms. The findings were compared with their expression in dentigerous and radicular cysts. While there was some variability in the reported results, probably because of technical inconsistencies and the use of different antibodies, a definite trend emerged. In general PCNA, Ki67 and p53 positivity occurred more frequently and more intensely in the OKCs, and in the syndrome-related more than the solitary, compared with the other cyst types. In the OKCs the positivity was expressed mostly in the suprabasal layers of epithelium whereas in the other cysts types it was mainly in the basal layer that positivity was observed. Other studies showed that the gene for the NBCCS (PTCH), a tumour suppressor gene, mapped to chromosome 9q22.3. PTCH gene mutation has been shown to be an important step in the pathogenesis of the OKC and was thought to have a role in the development of the sporadic as well as the syndrome-related OKCs. The 'two-hits' hypothesis was invoked in support of the view that syndrome-related basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and OKCs probably arise from precursor cells that contain an inherited 'first hit'. Only a single mutation was then required in the somatic cell to cause homozygous inactivation and neoplastic progression. Sporadic OKCs might arise from susceptible cells in which two somatic mutations or 'hits' have occurred, one of which manifests as allelic loss. The loss of tumour suppressor genes supports the view that the OKC is a benign neoplasm.

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