We investigated the skin-associated lymphoid tissue in arsenical skin cancers, including 14 Bowen's disease, 6 basal cell carcinoma and 6 squamous cell carcinoma patients from an endemic area by immunohistochemical and morphometric methods. There was a progressive decrease of Langerhans cells in the order of normal skin, normal appearing edge and arsenical cancers. A disruption of the uniform Langerhans cell dendrites was also noticed. The Langerhans cell density in arsenical tumors did not correlate with the peritumoral infiltrates. The prominent infiltrated cells in the peritumoral area had T cell markers. The number of peritumoral T lymphocytes in squamous cell carcinoma was significantly less than that of Bowen's disease and basal cell carcinoma. Peritumoral mononuclear infiltrates in Bowen's disease and squamous cell carcinoma showed a higher helper/suppressor T cell ratio than that in basal cell carcinoma. This may be accounted for by a selective increased recruitment of helper T cells to the tumor infiltrates in Bowen's disease and squamous cell carcinoma.
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