Mast cells are a significant source of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily members, such as TNF-alpha, CD30 ligand/CD153 (CD30L) and CD40L/CD154. Furthermore, the expression of some of these proteins in mast cells has been associated with tumorigenesis, and mast cells have been found to be increased in number in thebasal cell carcinoma (BCC) lesion. In this study, we have examined the expression ofTNF-alpha, CD30L and CD40L immunoreactivity in mast cells in the healthy-looking skin and lesional skin of ten patients with superficial spreading BCC. Also, the counterparts of these molecules, TNF receptor (TNFR) I and II as well as CD30 and CD40, were analysed immunohistochemically. We found that numbers of mast cells and Kit-positive cells were significantly increased in the dermal BCC lesion. The percentage of CD30L-positive mastcells and the number of CD30-positive cells were significantly increased in the upper dermis of the BCC lesion as well. In addition, the numbers of TNF-alpha-positive mast cellsand cells with TNFRI and TNFRII were markedly increased in the upper lesional dermis. Incontrast, no mast cells positive for CD40L could be detected, even though the lesional dermis contained increased numbers of CD40 positive cells. The BCC epithelium was positive for TNFRI, TNFRII and CD40, but not for CD30, though the larger basal buds appeared to be less intensely stained for TNFRI and CD40. In conclusion, mast cellspositive for CD30L and TNF-alpha, but not CD40L, are increased in number in the lesional dermis in BCC. These data suggest plausible pathways whereby mast cells can be activated and to interact with other cells and thereby contribute to the tumorigenesis inBCC.
2007. Vol. 56, no 9, 1407-1415 p.