Glioma-Associated Oncogene-1 Expression in Basal Cell Carcinoma and Its Histologic Mimics

Abstract: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer, and it has numerous histologic mimics with variable prognoses and treatments. Although some immunohistochemical stains can be used for the differential diagnosis of BCC, variability and overlap in results can complicate their interpretation. Immunohistochemical staining for glioma-associated oncogene-1 (Gli-1) was performed on 26 nodular BCCs, 22 infiltrative BCCs, 9 basaloid squamous cell carcinomas, 12 desmoplastic trichoepitheliomas, 19 Merkel cell carcinomas, 11 sebaceous carcinomas, 10 cylindromas, 14 spiradenomas, 12 adenoid cystic carcinomas (AdCC), and 1 solitary trichoepithelioma. Strength of staining was scored as 0, 1+, 2+, or 3+, and distribution of staining was categorized as diffuse, multifocal, or focal. Strong, diffuse Gli-1 expression was seen in all tumors with basal epidermal-type differentiation, including BCC, trichoepithelioma, and basaloid squamous cell carcinoma. All examples of Merkel cell carcinoma were negative for cytoplasmic expression. Seven out of 11 sebaceous carcinomas were negative for Gli-1, and the remaining 4 showed 1+ expression. Cylindroma, spiradenoma, and AdCC, each an adnexal skin tumor, showed the most variable staining, but with cylindroma and spiradenoma demonstrating comparable labeling patterns. Overall, although Gli-1 may not distinguish between basal epidermal-type tumors, it may have a role in separating that group from lesions with adnexal differentiation, particularly sebaceous carcinoma, but also cylindroma, spiradenoma, and AdCC. Any cytoplasmic staining seems to exclude the diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma.