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Title: Defining and targeting differentiation of non-melanoma skin cancer
Author: Ben Ketah, Antsar
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 8514
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2014
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Human cancer stem cells are proposed to play a critical role in tumour initiation and maintenance by their exclusive ability to regenerate the tumour. Thus cancer stem cells share many of the properties of normal stem cell including self-renewal and ability to give rise to progeny which undergo tissue-specific differentiation. Thus we hypothesised that by determining the normal patterns of tissue differentiation within cancer we could identify tumour type specific factors that promote differentiation, for therapeutic development. Therefore the aim of this study is to define patterns of human hair follicle differentiation in human basal cell carcinoma (BCC) in order to elucidate potential drug-able targets that can promote tumour specific differentiation. To test this hypothesis we analysed 20 different hair follicle specific differentiation markers, which define distinct layers within the normal adult hair, in six different human BCC samples using RT-PCR with normal hair follicle tissue as control. For the 12 specific keratin genes expressed in the BCC, we analysed expression by immunofluorescence on 20 different BCC samples, using hair follicle samples as positive controls. Our findings suggest that human BCC demonstrates both inward and upward differentiation patterns similar to the hair follicle, with expression of: outer root sheath (K5,14,16,and k17), companion layer (K75), inner root sheath (K26,27,28,71,72,and k74), and cuticle (K32,35,82,and k85); but not hair shaft (K31) markers. Consistent with these findings we observed the mutually exclusive relationship between expression of the early differentiation marker K19 and cell proliferation in the hair follicle and BCC. Similarly, expression of the outer root sheath keratins coincided with nuclear translocation of both GLI1 and NFIL-6, suggesting that BCC also share normal hair follicle tissue regulatory pathways. To further test the hypothesis that normal tissue factors observed in the hair follicle regulate BCC differentiation we have developed an in vitro BCC assay. Using this tissue culture model we hypothesised that BCC’s are stuck in the telogen part of the hair follicle cycle, resulting from autocrine expression of bone morphogenic proteins 2 and 4. Inhibition of BMP signalling by addition of noggin as well as addition of TGF-β to BCC colonies in tissue culture led to further induction of inner root sheath, cuticle and medulla keratins. In summary we have shown that BCC exhibit hair follicle differentiation, which is similarly regulated, but is stuck in telogen arrest and can be rescued by addition of noggin and TGF- β2.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer) ; RL Dermatology