Basal Cell Carcinoma With Matrical Differentiation: Clinicopathologic, Immunohistochemical, and Molecular Biological Study of 22 Cases

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Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) with matrical differentiation is a fairly rare neoplasm, with about 30 cases documented mainly as isolated case reports. We studied a series of this neoplasm, including cases with an atypical matrical component, a hitherto unreported feature. Lesions coded as BCC with matrical differentiation were reviewed; 22 cases were included. Immunohistochemical studies were performed using antibodies against BerEp4, β-catenin, and epithelial membrane antigen (EMA). Molecular genetic studies using Ion AmpliSeq Cancer Hotspot Panel v2 by massively parallel sequencing on Ion Torrent PGM were performed in 2 cases with an atypical matrical component (1 was previously subjected to microdissection to sample the matrical and BCC areas separately). There were 13 male and 9 female patients, ranging in age from 41 to 89 years. Microscopically, all lesions manifested at least 2 components, a BCC area (follicular germinative differentiation) and areas with matrical differentiation. A BCC component dominated in 14 cases, whereas a matrical component dominated in 4 cases. Matrical differentiation was recognized as matrical/supramatrical cells (n=21), shadow cells (n=21), bright red trichohyaline granules (n=18), and blue-gray corneocytes (n=18). In 2 cases, matrical areas manifested cytologic atypia, and a third case exhibited an infiltrative growth pattern, with the tumor metastasizing to a lymph node. BerEP4 labeled the follicular germinative cells, whereas it was markedly reduced or negative in matrical areas. The reverse pattern was seen with β-catenin. EMA was negative in BCC areas but stained a proportion of matrical/supramatrical cells. Genetic studies revealed mutations of the following genes: CTNNB1, KIT, CDKN2A, TP53, SMAD4, ERBB4, and PTCH1, with some differences between the matrical and BCC components. It is concluded that matrical differentiation in BCC in most cases occurs as multiple foci. Rare neoplasms manifest atypia in the matrical areas. Immunohistochemical analysis for BerEP4, EMA, and β-catenin can be helpful in limited biopsy specimens. From a molecular biological prospective, BCC and matrical components appear to share some of the gene mutations but have differences in others, but this observation must be validated in a large series.

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