Naevocellular naevi with or without atypical features: Immunohistochemical study of type IV collagen and MMP-2 expression

G. Lucarini, M. Tappa, G. Ricotti, M. Giangiacomi, E. Toschi, C. Castaldini, L. Simonelli, D. Brancorsini, G. Fabris, M. A. Brunelli, G. Biagini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In cutaneous naevi, modifications of melanocyte microenvironment can determine cell-extracellular matrix reactions that may progressively reduce matrix control and result in a more aggressive phenotype, with melanocytes acquiring growth autonomy through autocrine and paracrine loops. The purpose of this immunohistochemical study was to investigate some biological characteristics of melanocytes through the expression of basement membrane type IV collagen and of 72 kDa collagenase (MMP-2) in junctional, compound and dermal naevi with or without atypical cell features, and to compare them to malignant melanomas. Thirteen naevocellular naevi (junctional, compound and dermal), 6 naevocellular naevi with atypical features (dysplastic naevi) and 8 malignant melanomas were tested with an immunoperoxidase technique (antibody against type IV collagen) and with an alkaline phosphatase/anti-alkaline phosphatase technique (antibody against MMP-2). Different naevus types stained differently for type IV collagen and MMP-2. Dysplastic naevi exhibited high positivity for MMP-2 and weaker type IV collagen reaction around single cells and/or cellular nests, irrespective of the type of their normal counterpart. Our results underline the influence of microenvironment alterations in the development of malignant melanomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalSkin Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • 72 kDa collagenase
  • Dysplastic naevus
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Malignant melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Oncology


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