JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Basal cell carcinomas are populated by melanocytes and Langerhans [correction of Langerhan's] cells.

Several reports have documented the coexistence of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) with other lesions, including melanoma. This study was performed to determine whether nests of BCC contain benign melanocytes and Langerhans [corrected] cells. Ten cases of BCC were investigated to determine whether benign melanocytes and Langerhans [corrected] cells populate tumor nests. The BCCs were stained with antibodies to cytokeratin AEI/AE3, S-100, HMB-45, Melan-A, and CD1a proteins. We report that all 10 BCCs were populated by dendritic melanocytes distributed at the periphery (5/10 cases) or evenly throughout tumor nests (5/10 cases). Clusters of melanocytes were not identified in any of the BCCs. A total of 9 of 10 tumors showed staining of dendritic Langerhans cells with CD1a. A total of 8 of 10 tumors stained with cytokeratin AEI/AE3; in 6 of the 8 tumors, the staining was focal. We compared these findings with a single example of a BCC and melanoma in situ (MIS) collision tumor in which the cytokeratin AE1/AE3-positive epithelial nests of BCC were populated by a high density of malignant melanocytes that stained with S-100 and HMB-45. Melanocytes were disposed singly and in clusters of two or more cells within BCC tumor nests. We conclude from this study that BCCs are regularly populated by benign melanocytes and Langerhans [corrected] cells. Furthermore, when BCC is infiltrated with malignant melanocytes of MIS, the melanocyte density is higher and clusters of melanocytes can be observed. The significance of these two findings is unclear, as additional cases of BCC MIS collision tumor need to be studied.

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