Clonal nature of seborrheic keratosis demonstrated by using the polymorphism of the human androgen receptor locus as a marker

J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Apr;116(4):506-10. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.2001.01289.x.


We evaluated the clonality of seborrheic keratoses using a polymorphism due to the random inactivation of one of two X chromosomes in females. Thirty-eight seborrheic keratoses obtained from the skin of females with polymorphism of the human androgen receptor (HUMARA) locus were examined by a fluorescent polymerase chain reaction procedure, which allowed accurate measurement of the peak intensities of each HUMARA allele. The epithelial portion of seborrheic keratosis and normal control epidermis adjacent to the seborrheic keratosis were removed by laser capture microdissection. As biopsied specimens of seborrheic keratoses contained small amounts of normal epidermis, the effect of digestion by a restriction enzyme (HhaI) recognizing the nonmethylated active sites was compared between seborrheic keratoses and normal control epidermis in only five seborrheic keratosis cases. Disappearance or significant reduction in intensity of one of two HUMARA alleles was observed after HhaI digestion in seborrheic keratoses, but not in the normal control epidermis. Although the skewing of the polymorphism was not corrected by the normal control epidermis in the remaining 33 seborrheic keratosis cases, one of two HUMARA peaks practically disappeared after HhaI digestion in 20 of 33 seborrheic keratosis cases. In total, 25 of 38 seborrheic keratoses were considered to be monoclonal. The histologic type of seborrheic keratoses did not affect clonality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Clone Cells
  • Epidermis / immunology
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Keratosis, Seborrheic / genetics*
  • Keratosis, Seborrheic / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics*
  • Reference Values


  • Genetic Markers
  • Receptors, Androgen