Distribution of integrins and extracellular matrix proteins in vulvar squamous cell carcinomas

N. Surico, L. Priori, P. Savoia, O. Cremona, P. C. Marchisio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the topography of integrins and some basement membrane zone (BMZ) proteins in normal vulvar skin and in seven cases of vulvar squamous carcinoma (VSC). In vulvar epidermis integrin chains α2, α3 and β1 lined the lateral surface of basal cells, while the heterodimer α6β4 was detected only at their basal domain. The location of α6β4 exactly matched BMZ identified by kalinin, laminin and collagen type IV. In VSC this pattern was subverted since both β1 integrins and α6β4 became pericellular. In particular, α6β4 lost its coherence with the residual organization of BMZ. In fact, BMZ components dysplayed their normal pattern were this was preserved, and so were fibronectin and tenascin in the stroma underlying the tumor. Furthermore, α5β1, the prototype fibronectin receptor that is not normally exposed in vulvar epidermal cells, became detectable pericellularly in VSC tumor cells. Alteration of integrin polarized topography appears to be typical of VSC cells as well as of other tumor epidermal cells. This alteration may be easily shown by immunohistochemistry on routinely collected frozen biopsies. It may then represent a tool for the early diagnosis of VSC that provides a quick and easy complement of traditional histology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-154
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Gynaecological Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Epithelial polarity
  • Integrins
  • Vulvar carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Oncology


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