Pedram Gerami

Guest Editor for the following articles:

Vol. 31. No. 4

Hereditary Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

Alexander J. Stratigos, MD | Hensin Tsao, MD | Vasiliki Nikolaou, MD

Cutaneous basal and squamous cell carcinomas are among the most frequent malignancies
in the white population, with the annual incidence estimates ranging from 1 million to
3.5 million cases in the United States. These tumors can occur either sporadically or in the
context of hereditary genodermatoses with cancer predisposition, such as basal cell nevus
syndrome, xeroderma pigmentosum, epidermolysis bullosa, or oculocutaneous albinism.
Different genes and signaling pathways have been shown to play a central role in the
development and growth of these tumors. This article overviews the clinical features,
diagnostic criteria, and the most recent data on genetic routes of the major hereditary
syndromes predisposed to the development of nonmelanoma skin cancer.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 31:204-210 © 2012 Frontline Medical Communications

Vol. 31. No. 4

The Role of Molecular Testing in the Diagnosis of Cutaneous Soft Tissue Tumors

Alison L. Cheah, MBBS | Steven D. Billings, MD

A number of soft tissue tumors are characterized by recurring genetic abnormalities. The
identification of these abnormalities has advanced our understanding of the biology of
these tumors and has led to the development of molecular tests that are helpful diagnostically.
This review will focus on the application of molecular diagnostic testing in select
mesenchymal tumors of the dermis and subcutis.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 31:221-233 © 2012 Frontline Medical Communications

Vol. 31. No. 4

The Role of Molecular Analysis in Cutaneous Lymphomas

Janyana M.D. Deonizio, MD | Joan Guitart, MD

The purpose of this review is to summarize the most important molecular techniques for the
diagnosis of cutaneous lymphomas. When making a diagnosis, we are looking for the solid
clinicopathological correlation. Molecular analysis includes immunophenotyping and clonality
analysis, and is important for 2 principal reasons: (1) to confirm the diagnosis in cases
where the clinical and/or pathological presentations are nondiagnostic, and (2) to further
characterize the nature of the lymphoma. More specifically, we are trying to discern
whether the lymphoma is primarily cutaneous or systemic with secondary skin involvement,
and we are also attempting to subclassify the tumor. Recently, many techniques have
provided a more accurate diagnosis of cutaneous lymphomas and some prognostic implications,
including polymerase chain reaction, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and flow
cytometry. Fluorescence in situ hybridization is not routinely used in the diagnosis of
cutaneous lymphoma, but many studies have shown potential future applications in various
areas. Other techniques, such as comparative genomic hybridization, are still confined to
the research arena, but have added some insight into the molecular pathogenesis of
cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 31:234-240 © 2012 Frontline Medical Communications

Vol. 31. No. 4

Polymerase Chain Reaction-Based Molecular Diagnosis of Cutaneous Infections in Dermatopathology

Brian L. Swick, MD

Conventional methods, including microscopy, culture, and serologic studies, are a mainstay in
the diagnosis of cutaneous infection. However, owing to limitations associated with these
techniques, such as low sensitivity for standard microscopy and in the case of culture delay in
diagnosis, polymerase chain-reaction based molecular techniques have taken on an expanding
role in the diagnosis of infectious processes in dermatopathology. In particular, these assays
are a useful adjunct in the diagnosis of cutaneous tuberculosis, atypical mycobacterial infection,
leprosy, Lyme disease, syphilis, rickettsioses, leishmaniasis, and some fungal and viral
infections. Already in the case of tuberculosis and atypical mycobacterial infection, standardized
polymerase chain-reaction assays are commonly used for diagnostic purposes. With time,
additional molecular-based techniques will decrease in cost and gain increased standardization,
thus delivering rapid diagnostic confirmation for many difficult-to-diagnose cutaneous
infections from standard formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue specimens.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 31:241-246 © 2012 Frontline Medical Communications

Vol. 31. No. 4

Molecular Diagnosis of Infection-Related Cancers in Dermatopathology

Melissa Pulitzer, MD

The association between viruses and skin cancer is increasingly recognized in a number of
neoplasms, that is, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, Kaposi sarcoma, nasopharyngeal
carcinoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma, as well as hematolymphoid malignancies such as
adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma and NK/T-cell lymphoma (nasal type) and post-transplant
lymphoproliferative disorders. Molecular assays are increasingly used to diagnose and
manage these diseases. In this review, molecular features of tumor viruses and related host
responses are explored. The tests used to identify such features are summarized. Evaluation
of the utility of these assays for diagnosis and/or management of specific tumor types
is presented.
Semin Cutan Med Surg 31:247-257 © 2012 Frontline Medical Communications