Somatic mutations of Fas (Apo-1/CD95) gene in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma arising from a burn scar.
Fas (Apo-1/CD95) is a cell-surface receptor involved in cell death signaling, and recent reports have suggested that defects within the Fas receptor pathway such as Fas mutation play an important part in the development and progression of human tumors. Burn scar-related squamous cell carcinoma of skin is a unique subtype of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, and tends to be more aggressive in nature than conventional squamous cell carcinoma. The molecular mechanisms underlying the development and progression of burn scar-related squamous cell carcinoma, however, are not clear. In this study, we analyzed the entire coding region and all splice sites of the Fas gene for the detection of the somatic mutations in a series of 50 conventional squamous cell carcinomas and 21 burn scar-related squamous cell carcinomas by polymerase chain reaction, single strand conformation polymorphism, and DNA sequencing. We detected mis-sense mutations in three of 21 burn scar-related squamous cell carcinomas (14.3%), whereas no mutation was detected in 50 conventional squamous cell carcinomas. Of the three Fas mutations detected in the burn scar-related squamous cell carcinomas, one was found in Fas ligand-binding domain, another one was identified in the death domain known to be involved in the transduction of an apoptotic signal, and the other one was found in the transmembrane domain. Our data show that some burn scar-related squamous cell carcinomas have Fas gene mutations in important regions for the apoptosis function and suggest that these mutations might be involved in the pathogenesis of burn scar-related squamous cell carcinomas. In addition, our results provide an important clue to understanding the difference between burn scar-related squamous cell carcinoma and conventional squamous cell carcinoma at the molecular level.