Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma progression is associated with decreased GATA-3 immunohistochemical staining

Jason F. Solus, Khaled Hassan, Sena J. Lee, Andy C. Hsi, Ilana S. Rosman, Shadmehr Dehmeri, András Schaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background The GATA family of transcription factors is an essential regulator of cellular proliferation and differentiation. In the skin, GATA-3 is critical for epidermal stratification and maintenance of barrier function. A role for GATA-3 in the development of human cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is not known. Here, we investigated GATA-3 immunohistochemical staining in premalignant and invasive cutaneous SCC from sun-exposed and sun-protected skin. Methods GATA-3 immunohistochemistry was performed on actinic keratoses (AK) (n = 19), in situ squamous cell carcinomas with actinic [SCCIS (A)] (n = 9) or bowenoid features [SCCIS (B)] (n = 17), well-, moderately and poorly differentiated SCC (n = 36), Bowenoid papulosis of the perineum (n = 15) and penile SCC (pSCC) (n = 10). Results We found that GATA-3 immunohistochemical staining is progressively lost in sun-exposed skin as neoplasia progresses from pre-cancerous AK to SCCIS (A), and ultimately, to SCC, which shows near absent GATA-3 staining. This reduction in GATA-3 staining is independent of histological grade in SCC. Only slight down-regulation of GATA-3 was seen in all cases of SCCIS (B) and Bowenoid papulosis, while near absent GATA-3 expression was seen in pSCC. Conclusion We propose that decreased GATA-3 immunohistochemical staining is associated with cutaneous SCC progression on both sun-exposed and sun-protected sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-353
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cutaneous pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • GATA-3
  • actinic keratosis
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • squamous cell carcinoma in situ


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