Protein Biomarker May Offer Insights for Skin Cancer Prognosis

A simple protein biomarker long considered a strong biomarker of cancer stem cells in many forms of the disease may also offer insights in relation to advanced-stage cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, researchers have found. While the protein, known as CD133, has long been used to help gauge prognosis of other forms of the disease, its relation to cSCC has been largely unknown.

With the hope of seeing if the biomarker might offer insights for skin cancer patients, researchers set out to study samples from 165 cSCC patients. The results indicated that CD133 expression in high levels may indeed offer prognosis assistance. CD133 was observed in just under 51 percent of the samples and 16.7 percent of adjacent nonmalignant epithelial tissue samples. High CD133 expression was also found in 45 percent of stage 1 to 2 samples and 65.9 percent of the stage 3 samples. The results indicate that this protein could offer prognosis insights for patients diagnosed with cSCC.

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer diagnosed. Although not typically fatal, that is not always the case. More advanced-stage tumors can be exceptionally difficult to treat and since they tend to present in the head and neck region, treatments can be especially disfiguring. Providing patients with more precise prognostic information is seen as very important in the treatment of this condition.
Symptoms associated with cSCC include a shallow ulceration of the skin that is generally found in a sun-exposed area. The surface changes noted may include not only ulcerations, but also scaling and crusting. Localized pain, numbness and visual changes may also be present.

People at risk for skin cancer are urged to make screening appointments with their healthcare providers. Many forms of skin cancer, including cSCC, are considered highly treatable if detected early.

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