Melanocytes as the source of the increased melanisation in pigmented epithelial tumours: a holistic approach
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CitationKilitci, A., Elmas, Ö. F., Akdeniz, N., & Gamsizkan, M. (2022). Melanocytes as the source of the increased melanisation in pigmented epithelial tumours: a holistic approach. Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences, 52(3), 691-698.
Background/aim: We aimed to elucidate the causes of the increased melanisation in basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and seborrheic keratosis (SK), and the role of melanocytes in this process. Materials and methods: This study was a retrospective-cohort study conducted in the pathology department of a university hospital between January 2019 and October 2020. Forty-nine SK and 30 pigmented BCC were included in our study. SRY-box transcription factor 10 (SOX10), CD68, and Masson???Fontana staining was used for analysis in all samples. A representative section of each specimen was photographed under ??400 magnification to facilitate the assessments of the morphology of the melanocytes and their following morphometric parameters: density, nuclear diameter, and distribution. The density of pigmented keratinocytes in the lesional epidermis was scored. The nuclear diameters of melanocytes located in the nonlesional epidermis, the density of the melanophages, and the presence or absence of ulceration and solar elastosis were also recorded. Results: The morphometric findings confirmed a statistically significant increase in melanocyte density in the BCC group compared with that in the SK group (p < 0.001). Moreover, the nuclear minor diameters in the melanocytes of the BCC sections were significantly higher than those in the SK specimens (p < 0.001). The epidermal melanocytes were distributed diffusely in almost all BCC specimens (96.7%), whereas they were mainly limited to the basal layer in the majority of the SK sections (59.2%). The number of epidermal melanised keratinocytes with a score of 3 was significantly higher in the SK group (n = 31; 63.2%) than in the BCC group (n = 6; 20%) (p = 0.001), and they were the main cells representing the pigmented appearance of the tumours. No significant difference was found between both tumour groups in terms of their melanophage density scores (p = 0.206). Conclusion: This study is the first step towards an objective quantification of the melanocytes in pigmented epithelial tumours and may provide a morphological background for future studies on these skin lesions.