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Am J Dermatopathol. 2007 Feb;29(1):7-12.

Expression of androgen receptor by fibroepithelioma of Pinkus: evidence supporting classification as a basal cell carcinoma variant?

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1
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.

Abstract

The classification of fibroepithelioma of Pinkus as basal cell carcinoma or trichoblastoma remains controversial. Immunohistochemical stains for androgen receptor may be useful in differentiating basal cell carcinoma from trichoepithelioma or trichoblastoma. We studied androgen receptor expression in 13 fibroepitheliomas of Pinkus, 11 basal cell carcinomas, 12 trichoepitheliomas, and 3 trichoblastomas. Androgen receptor expression was present in 77% (10/13) of fibroepitheliomas of Pinkus, 73% (8/11) of basal cell carcinomas, 17% (2/12) of trichoepitheliomas, and 0% (0/3) of trichoblastomas. Androgen receptor expression was significantly higher in fibroepitheliomas of Pinkus compared with trichoepitheliomas and trichoblastomas (P = .0007), but not basal cell carcinoma (P = 1.00). Tumor-associated Merkel cells, a feature of benign follicular tumors, was identified by cytokeratin 20 stains. Merkel cells were identified in 85% (11/13) of fibroepitheliomas of Pinkus, 27% (3/11) of basal cell carcinoma cases, and 73% (11/15) of benign follicular tumors. Cytokeratin 20 expression was significantly higher in fibroepithelioma of Pinkus and benign follicular tumors compared with basal cell carcinomas (P = 0.0111 and P = 0.025, respectively). No significant difference was found between fibroepitheliomas of Pinkus and trichoepitheliomas and trichoblastomas (P = 1.00). Similar to basal cell carcinomas, fibroepitheliomas of Pinkus express androgen receptors, potentially supporting classification as a basal cell carcinoma. Conversely, fibroepithelioma of Pinkus demonstrates retention of Merkel cells, a feature of benign follicular tumors. Immunophenotypic evidence for the classification of fibroepithelioma of Pinkus remains inconclusive. In small, partial biopsy specimens, coexpression of androgen receptor and cytokeratin 20 may aid in the diagnosis of fibroepithelioma of Pinkus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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