Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin: Emerging need for novel biomarkers

World J Clin Oncol. 2013 Nov 10;4(4):85-90. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v4.i4.85.


The incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) is rising worldwide resulting in demand for clinically useful prognostic biomarkers for these malignant tumors, especially for invasive and metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). Important risk factors for the development and progression of cSCC include ultraviolet radiation, chronic skin ulcers and immunosuppression. Due to the role of cumulative long-term sun exposure, cSCC is usually a disease of the elderly, but the incidence is also growing in younger individuals due to increased recreational exposure to sunlight. Although clinical diagnosis of cSCC is usually easy and treatment with surgical excision curable, it is responsible for the majority of NMSC related deaths. Clinicians treating skin cancer patients are aware that certain cSCCs grow rapidly and metastasize, but the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for the aggressive progression of a subpopulation of cSCCs remain incompletely understood. Recently, new molecular markers for progression of cSCC have been identified.

Keywords: Biomarker; Matrix metalloproteinase; Serpin; Skin cancer; Squamous cell carcinoma.