Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin represents a group of neoplasms which is associated with exposure to UV light. Recently, we obtained data suggesting that invasive skin cancer and its precursors derive from one original neoplastic clone. Here, the analysis were extended by loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis in the chromosome 9q22.3 region. A total of 85 samples, taken from twenty-two sections of sun-exposed sites, corresponding to normal epidermis, morphological normal cells with positive immuno-staining for the p53 protein (p53 patches), dysplasias, cancer in situ (CIS) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the skin were analysed. Overall, about 70% of p53 patches had mutations in the p53 gene but not LOH in the p53 gene or 9q22.3 region. Approximately 70% of the dysplasias showed p53 mutations of which about 40% had LOH in the p53 region but not in the 9q22.3 region. In contrast, about 65% of SCC and CIS displayed LOH in the 9q22.3 region, as well as frequent (80%) mutations and/or LOH in the p53 gene. These findings strongly suggest that alterations in the p53 gene is an early event in the progression towards SCC, whereas malignant development involves LOH and alterations in at least one (or several) tumor suppressor genes located in chromosome 9q22.3.
1998. Vol. 17, no 14