European Journal of Dermatology

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 41–45 | Cite as

Increased expression of enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 (EZH2) differentiates squamous cell carcinoma from normal skin and actinic keratosis

  • Qiang Xie
  • Hongbei Wang
  • Edward R. Heilman
  • Michael G. Walsh
  • M. A. Haseeb
  • Raavi Gupta
Investigative Report



Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 (EZH2) is a polycomb group protein that has been shown to be involved in the progression of multiple human cancers including melanoma. The expression of EZH2 in normal skin and in pre-malignant and malignant cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) has not been studied.


We examined the expression of EZH2 in normal skin, actinic keratosis (AK), SCC in situ, well-differentiated (SCC-WD), moderately-differentiated (SCC-MD) and poorly-differentiated SCC (SCC-PD) to ascertain whether EZH2 expression differentiates these conditions.

Materials and Methods

Immunohistochemical staining for EZH2 was performed on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsies and a tissue microarray containing normal skin, AK, SCC in situ, and SCC of different grades.


In comparison to the normal skin, EZH2 expression in actinic keratosiswas increased (p = 0.03). Similarly, EZH2 expression in all of the neoplastic conditions studied (SCC in situ, SCC-WD, SCC-MD and SCC-PD) was greatly increased in comparison to both the normal skin and actinic keratosis (p≤0.001).


EZH2 expression increases incrementally from normal skin to AK and further to SCC, suggesting a role for EZH2 in the progression and differentiation of SCC. EZH2 expression may be used as a diagnostic marker for differentiating SCC from AK or normal skin.

Key words

actinic keratosis EZH2 skin squamous cell carcinoma 


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Copyright information

© John Libbey Eurotext 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiang Xie
    • 1
  • Hongbei Wang
    • 1
  • Edward R. Heilman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael G. Walsh
    • 3
  • M. A. Haseeb
    • 1
  • Raavi Gupta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyState University of New York, Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Department of Dermatology, College of MedicineState University of New York, Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public HealthState University of New York, Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA

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