Lymphoid elements and apoptosis-related proteins (Fas, Fas ligand, p53 and bcl-2) in lichen sclerosus and carcinoma of the vulva

H. Ben-Hur, M. Ashkenazi, M. Huszar, P. Gurevich, I. Zusman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied some of the morphological and immunohistochemical parameters of lichen sclerosus (LS) and carcinomas of the vulva in order to verify some characteristics in LS related to neoplasm transformation. Parameters such as proliferating index, rate of proliferation of lymphoid elements into a tumor and types of such elements were studied. In parallel, the number of cells positive to apoptosis-related proteins such as Fas, Fas ligand, p53 and bcl-2 were evaluated. Biopsy material from patients with different vulvar vulvar disorders - 22 samples with LS and 23 samples with vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (VSCC) - was studied by the methods of morphometry and immunohistochemistry. In LS, the number of T cells is a few times higher than those of B cells. Among the T cells, the number of killers is significantly higher than the number of helpers. Carcinomas, especially those with lymphoid depletion, are characterized by a further significant increase in some parameters such as the rate of lymphoid proliferation and the number of T helpers and killers. The progression in to tumorigenesis was accompanied with a significant increase in the number of Fas+ and FasL+ lymphocytes. In tumor epithelial cells the proliferative index increased in carcinomas with lymphoid depletion. The number of p53+ epithelial cells increased whereas the number of bcl-2+ cells showed a distinct tendency to decrease with progression in to tumorigenesis. Development of a tumor is manifested in deep changes in relationships between different lymphoid components. Only two lymphoid markers are significantly different in VSCC compared to LS: the number of T killers and macrophages. The other parameters studied (rate of proliferative activity, the total number of T cells and T helpers, B cells, IL-2-connective cells) already showed high expression in LS as the first signs of transformation of this inflammation into neoplasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-109
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Gynaecological Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Carcinoma of vulva
  • Lichen sclerosus
  • Proliferation
  • T and B cells


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