DEK expression in Merkel cell carcinoma and small cell carcinoma.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of cutaneous pathology, Volume 39, Issue 8, p.753-7 (2012)


BACKGROUND: The chromatin architectural factor DEK maps to chromosome 6p and is frequently overexpressed in several neoplasms, including small cell lung carcinoma, where it is associated with poor prognosis, tumor initiation activity and chemoresistance. DEK expression has not been studied in cutaneous Merkel cell carcinoma.

METHODS: We applied a DEK monoclonal antibody to 15 cases of Merkel cell carcinoma and 12 cases of small cell carcinoma. DEK nuclear immunoreactivity was scored based on percentage (0, negative; 1+, <25%; 2+, 25-50%; 3+, >50%) and intensity (weak, moderate or strong).

RESULTS: All 15 Merkel cell carcinoma cases (100%) showed diffuse (3+) nuclear positivity (14 strong, 1 weak). Six of 12 small cell carcinoma cases (50%) showed diffuse (3+) and strong nuclear positivity, while one case exhibited focal (1+) weak nuclear positivity. The remaining five cases were negative for DEK expression.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that DEK may be involved in the pathogenesis of Merkel cell carcinoma and therefore may provide therapeutic implications for Merkel cell carcinomas. In addition, the difference in DEK expression between Merkel cell carcinoma and small cell carcinoma suggests possible separate tumorigenesis pathways for the two tumors.