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Mod Pathol. 2005 Jan;18(1):137-42.

Expression of p63 in primary cutaneous adnexal neoplasms and adenocarcinoma metastatic to the skin.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030-4009, USA.


p63, a recently identified homologue of the p53 gene, has been reported to be essential in the development of epithelia and is mainly expressed by basal and myoepithelial cells. The purpose of this study was to investigate the pattern of p63 expression in cutaneous adnexal neoplasms and to assess its possible value in the differential diagnosis of primary cutaneous neoplasms vs adenocarcinomas metastatic to the skin. Immunohistochemical analysis for p63 was performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded archival tissue from 20 benign adnexal tumors, 10 malignant adnexal tumors and 14 adenocarcinomas metastatic to the skin. The expression of p63 was evaluated in epidermal cells, skin appendages and metastatic tumor cells. p63 was consistently expressed in the basal and suprabasal cells of epidermis and cutaneous appendages, including the basal/myoepithelial cells of sweat glands. Out of 20 benign adnexal tumors, 13 (65%) showed strong (score 3) p63 expression; the remaining seven (35%) cases had score 2. All primary cutaneous carcinomas, including adenocarcinomas, expressed p63. In contrast, none of the metastatic adenocarcinomas to the skin was positive for p63 (P<0.001). Based on our findings, analysis of p63 expression may help in the differential diagnosis of primary vs metastatic cutaneous adenocarcinomas.

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