Cooper, H.L., Cook, I.S., Theaker, J.M., Mallipeddi, R., McGrath, J., Friedmann, P. and Healy, E.
Expression and glycosylation of MUC1 in epidermolysis bullosa-associated and sporadic cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas
British Journal of Dermatology, 151, (3), . (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2004.06075.x).
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Background Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is particularly problematic in certain patient groups, including patients with dystrophic or junctional epidermolysis bullosa (DEB/JEB). Theoretically, vaccination against a cell surface antigen which is expressed on this type of tumour could prevent SCC development, as well as treat primary and metastatic disease in this patient group. Preliminary studies have suggested that MUC1, a transmembrane glycoprotein, is overexpressed in sporadic cutaneous SCCs, and MUC1 has been used with some success as a target antigen for vaccine development in breast cancer, where it is expressed on > 50% of neoplastic cells in approximately 50–80% of tumours. Furthermore, aberrant glycosylation of MUC1 has been detected in this and other cancer types; however, the glycosylation status of MUC1 in cutaneous SCC is not known.
Objectives To investigate the expression and glycosylation status of MUC1 in SCCs arising in patients with DEB and JEB, and for comparison in sporadic SCCs and sporadic Bowen's disease.
Methods Immunohistochemical analysis of MUC1 in 30 SCCs from subjects with DEB/JEB, 55 sporadic SCCs and 30 sporadic lesions of Bowen's disease was carried out using four separate monoclonal antibodies which recognize different isoforms of MUC1.
Results Expression of MUC1 was detected in 100% of SCCs arising in patients with DEB and JEB; > 50% of neoplastic cells stained positive for MUC1 in 57% of DEB/JEB SCCs, with over 95% of tumour cells immunopositive in 33% of cases. MUC1 expression was also observed in 95% of sporadic SCCs and 97% of Bowen's disease, with 36% of sporadic SCCs immunopositive for MUC1 in > 50% of tumour cells. Investigation of the glycosylation status showed that MUC1 was predominantly hyperglycosylated in the DEB/JEB and sporadic tumours.
Conclusions The results demonstrate that a significant proportion of DEB/JEB and sporadic SCCs express MUC1 in > 50% of tumour cells. Therefore, MUC1 may be a suitable candidate antigen against which to develop a tumour vaccine for these patient groups.
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