Background: Cutaneous neoplasms include melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs). Among NMSCs, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) represents the most common lesion. On the contrary, although accounting for less than 5% of all skin cancers, melanoma is responsible for most of cutaneous malignancy-related deaths. Paraoxonase-2 (PON2) is an intracellular enzyme exerting a protective role against production of reactive oxygen species within mitochondrial respiratory chain. Recently, a growing attention has been focused on exploring the role of PON2 in cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the diagnostic and prognostic role of PON2 in skin neoplasms. Materials and methods: 36 cases of BCC, distinguished between nodular and infiltrative lesions, as well as 29 melanoma samples were analysed by immunohistochemistry to evaluate PON2 protein expression. Subsequent statistical analyses were carried out to explore the existence of correlations between intratumour enzyme levels and clinicopathological features. Results: Results obtained showed PON2 overexpression in BCCs compared with controls. In particular, distinguishing between less and more aggressive tumour forms, we found no significant differences in enzyme levels between nodular BCCs and controls. Conversely, PON2 expression was significantly higher in infiltrative BCCs compared with controls. Moreover, the enzyme was strongly upregulated in melanoma samples with respect to controls. Interestingly, PON2 levels were positively correlated with Breslow thickness, Clark level, regression, mitoses, lymph node metastases, primary tumour (pT) parameter and pathological stage. Conclusions: Reported findings seem to suggest that PON2 expression levels could be positively related with tumour aggressiveness of both BCC and melanoma.
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