Pilomatrix carcinomas contain mutations in CTNNB1, the gene encoding β-catenin

Alexander J.F. Lazar, Eduardo Calonje, Wayne Grayson, Angelo P. Dei Tos, Martin C. Mihm, Mark Redston, Phillip H. McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Mutations in β-catenin are present in benign pilomatrixomas. β-catenin is a downstream effector in the WNT-signalling pathway, acting as a signal for differentiation and proliferation. Mutations in CTNNB1, the gene encoding β-catenin, are present in a wide variety of benign and malignant neoplasms. We examined β-catenin in a series of pilomatrix carcinomas (15 cases) by using immunohistochemistry and DNA sequencing of exon 3 from CTNNB1, and compared these to a series of benign pilomatrixomas (13 cases). All 11 pilomatrix carcinomas available for examination showed nuclear localization of β-catenin and mutations in exon 3 similar to those demonstrated in benign pilomatrixomas. Two of 11 pilomatrix carcinomas showed significant nuclear accumulation of p53, whereas this was absent in all 13 benign pilomatrixomas. Expression of nuclear cyclin D1 was similar in both benign pilomatrixomas and pilomatrix carcinomas. Clinical follow-up from the 15 malignant cases reported in this study and by others indicates that wide excision offers superior control of local recurrence, compared to simple excision. Immunohistochemical and molecular analysis of β-catenin reveals that both pilomatrix carcinomas and benign pilomatrixomas harbour mutations in β-catenin. This implies a common initial pathogenesis and is compatible with the proposition that pilomatrix carcinomas may at least on occasion arise from their benign counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of cutaneous pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Dermatology

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