Increased expression of cytokeratins 8, 18 and vimentin in the invasion front of mucosal squamous cell carcinoma

The Journal of Pathology
H E SchaafsmaF C Ramaekers


The immunohistochemical expression patterns of cytokeratins 8 and 18 and vimentin were examined in frozen sections of 120 human mucosal squamous cell carcinomas with special emphasis on the topological distribution in the tumour. This was done in order to evaluate in squamous cell carcinoma a particular expression pattern observed recently by us in transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary tract and designated as an 'interface phenomenon'. This phenomenon implying maximum expression of cytokeratins 8 and 18 at the tumour front, and to a lesser extent also in areas of intratumorous stroma contact, was also found in about 50 per cent of the squamous cell carcinomas examined. It was even found for vimentin, which contrasted with transitional cell carcinoma. The percentages of occurrence of the phenomenon varied for the different sites of origin of the tumour. Tumour grade did not influence the results. These findings further support the idea that invasive carcinoma cells interacting with the stromal micro-environment display a characteristic intermediate filament phenotype that deviates from the pattern expected on the basis of their direction of differentiation. These changes might reflect phenotype involved in invasive, migrati...Continue Reading


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