Role of Wnt signaling in dermatofibroma induction phenomenon

J Cutan Pathol. 2021 Feb;48(2):217-220. doi: 10.1111/cup.13837. Epub 2020 Oct 1.


Background: Dermatofibroma (DF) is a common benign skin neoplasm. Induction above DF lesions, including follicular unit induction, is a frequently observed phenomenon. Wnt signaling is known to be critical in hair follicle morphogenesis. Our study assesses the role of Wnt signaling in DF induction by evaluating intracellular localization of β-catenin in various types of DF induction.

Methods: Archived tissue collected between 1 October 1980 and 1 October 2013 was stained per protocol using hematoxylin and eosin and anti-β-catenin monoclonal antibody. Specimens were grouped into categories based on the presence or absence and type of induction. All specimens were scored for nuclear β-catenin localization.

Results: Of 62 specimens, 42 (68%) showed induction while 20 (32%) showed none. Nuclear β-catenin staining was detected in 23 (55%) of the induction and in none of the no-induction specimens (P-value < 0.001). Types of induction included: 15 (24%) follicular induction, 31 (50%) acanthosis, and 4 (6%) sebaceous induction. For follicular induction, 13 (87%) showed positive nuclear β-catenin staining compared to 11 (35%) for acanthosis and 1 (25%) for sebaceous induction (P-value = 0.002).

Conclusion: Our findings support the hypothesis that DFs promote an ectopic activation of Wnt pathway signaling in follicular induction phenomenon.

Keywords: Wnt; dermatofibroma; dermatopathology; follicular induction; hair follicle.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Histiocytoma, Benign Fibrous* / metabolism
  • Histiocytoma, Benign Fibrous* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Skin Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • beta Catenin