Cytogenetics of Primary Skin Tumors

  • Melanie A. Carless
  • Lyn R. Griffiths
Part of the Current Clinical Pathology book series (CCPATH)


Skin tumors can arise as a result of cumulative genetic abnormalities, including chromosomal ­aberrations that can be described as either morphological (structural rearrangements) or molecular (copy number variations). Cytogenetic techniques have been used to examine both large and small chromosomal aberrations, and include karyotyping, comparative genomic hybridization, and fluorescence in situ hybridization. This chapter describes the recurrent aberrations associated with skin tumors, such as benign melanocytic nevi, melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, actinic (solar) keratosis, Bowen’s disease, keratoacanthoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, and cutaneous lymphomas, as detected by cytogenetic methodologies. A significant number of genomic aberrations are shared across different subtypes of skin tumors, including structural and numerical alterations of chromosome 1, −3p, +3q, +6, +7, +8q, −9p, +9q, −10, −17p, +17q and +20. Aberrations specific to certain skin cancers have also been detected, and include: loss of 18q in squamous cell carcinoma, but not its precursor, actinic keratosis; loss of 9q22 in sporadic basal cell carcinoma; and translocation involving 17q22 and 22q13 in dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. These regions contain a number of potential candidate genes that are involved in aspects of cell signaling, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Cytogenetic methodologies continue to evolve with the advent of array-based comparative genomic hybridization, copy number variation microarrays, and next-generation sequencing. It is envisioned that cytogenetic analysis will continue to be employed for identification and further exploration of novel chromosomal regions and associated genes that drive skin tumorigenesis.


Squamous Cell Carcinoma Basal Cell Carcinoma Comparative Genomic Hybridization Merkel Cell Carcinoma Actinic Keratosis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Genomics Research Centre, GIHMR, School of Medical ScienceGriffith University-Gold CoastBundallAustralia

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