Background: The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway is one of the major cascades that are crucial for the initiation and progression of melanoma; however, the influence of these signaling molecules on patient survival has not been clarified. Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze the protein expression of MAPK signaling molecules in melanoma, and to correlate the expression status with clinicopathologic parameters. Methods: Expression of c-Kit, phosphorylated ERK (p-ERK), and cyclin D1 was examined by immunohistochemistry in 78 primary melanomas, 24 metastatic lesions, and in 42 benign nevi. The following clinicopathologic variables were evaluated: age, gender, histologic type, tumor site, Breslow thickness, Clark's level, ulceration, and survival period. Statistical analyses were performed for assessment of associations and melanoma-specific survival. Results: The expression of c-Kit, p-ERK, and cyclin D1 was significantly higher in primary melanomas than in nevi. c-Kit immunoreactivity was highest in thin (Tis-pT2) melanomas, and showed a significant reduction with tumor progression and metastasis. The expression of p-ERK was high in all stages of melanoma. Cyclin D1 positivity increased significantly according to tumor progression, but decreased in metastases. A significant correlation between p-ERK and cyclin D1 expression was observed. Survival analysis failed to detect any trends towards shorter or longer survival among patients expressing either c-Kit, p-ERK or cyclin D1. Conclusions: The expression of c-Kit, p-ERK, and cyclin D1 might help to differentiate thin melanoma from melanocytic nevus, but it appears to lack prognostic potential.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology