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Dermatology. 2001;202(3):203-6.

Epidermal growth factor receptor overexpression and genetic aberrations in metastatic squamous-cell carcinoma of the skin.

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Department of Dermatology, Yamaguchi University School of Medicine, Yamaguchi, Japan.



Cutaneous squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC) sometimes causes lymph node metastasis and results in poor prognosis. However, little is known about cytogenetic alterations underlying tumor progression or metastasis. The aim of the present study was to investigate the genetic aberrations and expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in metastatic SCC of the skin.


We undertook comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis of 4 specimens which were obtained from a case of cutaneous SCC, including the primary lesion and 3 lymph nodes of the metastatic lesion.


Only one amplified locus (7p12-13) was detected in any metastatic lymph node, in which the EGFR gene is located. Therefore, we applied immunohistochemistry for EGFR to 5 cases of metastatic SCC including the case analyzed using CGH and 4 other cases (5 primary and 5 metastatic lesions). EGFR was expressed in 4 of 5 cases (both primary and metastatic lesions, including the case analyzed using CGH), and the staining patterns of primary and metastatic lesions were different. The primary tumors were focally weakly positive for immunostaining (+), whereas the 4 metastases were diffusely and strongly positive (+++).


Our findings suggest that the clone with EGFR expression might selectively metastasize in some cutaneous SCCs. The existence of an EGFR-negative case reveals that EGFR expression is not always required for skin carcinogenesis, but expression of EGFR might confer metastatic potential of cutaneous SCCs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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