Sex steroids have been postulated to influence skin development and functions as well as its pathogenesis. MCC occurs in both sexes; however, the specific differences in pathogenesis among sexes have yet to be conclusively defined. The detailed status of sex steroid receptors (AR, PRA and PRB, and ERα, ERβ) are also unknown in MCC patients. We first immunolocalized sex steroid receptors and compared the results with immunolocalization of relevant transcription factors including SOX2, FOXA1, and Bcl-2 and Ki-67 in 18 cases of MCCs. AR, PRA, PRB, ERα, ERβ, Bcl-2, SOX2, and FOXA1 immunoreactivity was evaluated by using the modified H score method, and Ki-67 was quantified using labeling index. ERβ immunoreactivity was markedly present in all the cases of MCC examined, with relatively weak immunoreactivity of ERα, AR, PRA, and PRB. The status of ERβ immunoreactivity was also significantly correlated with Ki-67 labeling index and Bcl-2 score. These results demonstrated that ERβ could be associated with regulation of both cell proliferation and apoptosis in MCCs.
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