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J Invest Dermatol. 1994 Mar;102(3):304-9.

Epithelial-stromal interactions in basal cell cancer: the PDGF system.

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Department of Pathology, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.


A proposed progenitor cell for basal cell carcinoma is a stem cell located in the bulge of the hair follicle. Previous investigations have shown that basal cell carcinoma has a specific stroma requirement for its growth. Likewise the development of a normal hair follicle requires the inductive force of a specialized structure with condensed mesenchyme that eventually forms the dermal hair papilla. Investigations in mouse embryos also strongly indicate that induction/growth of skin structures is dependent on platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) alpha-receptor expression in the mesenchyme. We therefore investigated the expression of PDGF A and B chain and PDGF alpha and beta receptors in basal cell carcinoma and in normal skin by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. alpha and beta receptors were found in the specific stroma components of basal cell carcinoma, dermal hair papilla, and sweat glands, but not in the epithelial structures. The A and B chains, on the other hand, were mainly found in basal cell carcinoma cells, in hair matrix, and in sweat gland epithelium. This "appositional" expression of PDGF/PDGF receptor closely resembles that found in epithelial/mesenchymal structures during normal development. The findings also suggest that PDGF receptor expression is one of the characteristics of the specific stroma that is necessary for basal cell carcinoma growth.

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