Expression of the alpha 6 beta 4 integrin by squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas: possible relation to invasive potential
We have studied the expression of alpha 6 beta 4 integrin, a carcinoma laminin receptor in ten squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and ten basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) of the skin in order to examine whether changes in alpha 6 beta 4 integrin expression may be related to invasive and metastatic potential. Monoclonal antibodies specific for each subunit were applied on cryosections, using a three step indirect peroxidase technique. In normal epidermis the basal cells expressed both the alpha 6 and the beta 4 subunits, and the expression was polarized against the basement membrane. In SCCs the expression of the alpha 6 and the beta 4 subunits paralleled each other, showing an increased intensity and loss of polarity. The BCCs, however, showed consistently decreased expression of both the alpha 6 and the beta 4 subunits. The results of our study, as well as those of other studies, support the assumption that the increase and depolarization of alpha 6 beta 4 integrin that occurs in SCCs might be related to the invasive properties of this tumour type.