Keratoacanthomas have an immunosuppressive cytokine environment of increased IL-10 and decreased GM-CSF compared to squamous cell carcinomas

M. A. Lowes, G. A. Bishop, B. E. Cooke, R. St C. Barnetson, G. M. Halliday

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To investigate the relationship between keratoacanthoma (KA) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), cytokine mRNA in 12 KA and eight SCC were compared. Normal skin was also studied. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to quantitate mRNA in each sample utilizing DNA standards. Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) was used as an internal control, and CD3δ as an indication of the T-cell infiltrate. KAs showed a significant increase in interleukin (IL)-10, and a decrease in granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) mRNA compared to SCCs. CD3δ mRNA was also increased in the KAs. There was no difference between KAs and SCCs in expression of lymphotoxin-α, IL-2, interferon-γ (IFN-γ), IL-13, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), or the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-8 or tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). These results indicate that KAs spontaneously resolve in an immunosuppressive environment. KAs grow rapidly over a period of weeks and then involute. It is possible that a suppressed immune response enables unimpeded growth and that the KA cells rapidly undergo the finite number of cell divisions of which they are capable, and then die without reaching immortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1501-1505
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jul 14 1999



  • Skin cancer
  • Tumour development
  • Tumour immunology
  • Tumour regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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