Neoplastic progression of solid tumours is often characterized by a simultaneous increase in matrix protein (eg collagen) synthesis and degradation, and results in the formation of a tumour stroma. At the tumour periphery, this process is believed to facilitate angiogenesis and invasive growth of tumour cells. In various types of carcinoma, differentiation of fibroblasts towards myofibroblasts is thought to play an important role in extracellular matrix remodelling as their emergence coincides with architectural changes in the tumour stroma. Here, distinct architectural changes in collagen fibres are reported in cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCC) with respect to normal skin and precursor lesions, ie keratinocytic intraepidermal neoplasia (KIN). Simultaneously, type I collagen mRNA was observed in fibroblasts in close proximity to cSCC lesions (19/19) but only in 2 of 10 KIN lesions tested. Interestingly, whereas emerging of myofibroblasts correlated with reduced differentiation of cSCCs, it was not a prerequisite for type I collagen synthesis. These data indicate that type I collagen synthesis by fibroblasts parallels the malignant transformation of human KIN to cSCC.
Copyright (c) 2004 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.