Differential expression of proliferation- and apoptosis-related markers in lentigo maligna and solar keratosis keratinocytes

Meora Feinmesser*, Cohava Tsabari, Suzana Fichman, Emmilia Hodak, Jaqueline Sulkes, Elimelech Okon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Keratinocytes influence the number, morphology, and proliferation of melanocytes. An interference in the melanocyte-keratinocyte relationship may contribute to melanoma development. This study examined the expression of apoptotic and proliferative markers in keratinocytes in lentigo maligna to characterize the epidermis permissive to these lesions. Formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissues from 25 samples of lentigo maligna, 20 samples of solar keratoses, and 5 samples each of normal sun-exposed and non-sun-exposed skin (controls) were immunostained with antibodies directed against the proapoptotic markers bax and p53, the antiapoptotic marker bcl-2, and the proliferation marker ki-67. Eight percent of the lentigo maligna samples were positive for keratinocyte expression of bcl-2, 24% were positive for p53, and 76% were positive for bax; respective findings for solar keratoses were 35%, 85%, and 90%. Comparison with normal sun-exposed skin yielded lower rates of keratinocyte proliferation in 56% of the lentigo maligna samples, similar rates in 36%, and higher rates in 8%; for solar keratoses, proliferation was higher than controls in 60% of samples, similar in 35%, and lower in 5%. All these differences were statistically significant. These findings indicate that there are variable patterns of epidermal reaction to chronic sun exposure. The epidermis in lentigo maligna shows overall low proliferation and an apparently low apoptotic tendency. The dysfunctional epidermis may be permissive to aberrant melanocyte proliferation in the early stages of melanoma development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-307
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Dermatopathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Lentigo maligna
  • Proliferation
  • Sun exposure


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential expression of proliferation- and apoptosis-related markers in lentigo maligna and solar keratosis keratinocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this