Korean J Dermatol.  2015 Feb;53(2):96-105. 10.0000/kjd.2015.53.2.96.

The Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and E-cadherin and Vimentin Expression in Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • 1Department of Dermatology, Samsung Changwon Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Changwon, Korea. eunphilheo@gmail.com


The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in epithelial tumor cells plays a key role in tumor invasion and metastasis. The reduction or loss of E-cadherin and the acquisition of vimentin are two critical steps in the EMT. However, the roles of EMT-related proteins in basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) have not been fully elucidated.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the immunohistochemical expressions of E-cadherin and vimentin in BCC and SCC, and to demonstrate the EMT and its role in tumor invasion.
Paraffin-embedded tissues from 30 BCC and 20 SCC cases were incubated with primary antibodies to E-cadherin and vimentin. The co-expression of the biomarkers and the biomarkers' correlations with the histopathological grades were analyzed.
E-cadherin expression reduced by 90.0% and 95.0% in BCC and SCC, respectively, and the expression of vimentin increased by 10.0% and 55.0% in BCC and SCC, respectively. The expression of vimentin was significantly different in BCC and SCC (p<0.05). There were no correlations between the expression of E-cadherin and the expression of vimentin in BCC (p>0.05), or between the expression of E-cadherin and the expression of vimentin in SCC (p>0.05).
These results suggest that the EMT affects the pathophysiology of both BCC and SCC. The greater aberrance in the expression of vimentin in SCC compared with that in BCC might be one factor that underlies the greater aggression of SCC clinically.


Basal cell carcinoma; E-cadherin; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Squamous cell carcinoma; Vimentin
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