Comparison of clinicopathologic features and survival of histopathologically amelanotic and pigmented melanomas: a population-based study.
ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Previous studies have reported that histopathologically amelanotic melanoma is associated with poorer survival than pigmented melanoma; however, small numbers of amelanotic melanomas, selected populations, lack of centralized pathologic review, or no adjustment for stage limit the interpretation or generalization of results from prior studies.OBJECTIVE To compare melanoma-specific survival between patients with histopathologically amelanotic and those with pigmented melanoma in a large international population-based study.DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Survival analysis with a median follow-up of 7.6 years.The study population comprised 2995 patients with 3486 invasive primary melanomas centrally scored for histologic pigmentation from the Genes, Environment, and Melanoma(GEM) Study, which enrolled incident cases of melanoma diagnosed in 1998 through 2003 from international population-based cancer registries.MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Clinicopathologic predictors and melanoma-specific survival of histologically amelanotic and pigmented melanoma were compared using generalized estimating equations and Cox regression models, respectively.RESULTS Of 3467 melanomas, 275 (8%) were histopathologically amelanotic. Female sex,nodular and unclassified or other histologic subtypes, increased Breslow thickness, presence of mitoses, severe solar elastosis, and lack of a coexisting nevus were independently associated with amelanotic melanoma (each P < .05). Amelanotic melanoma was generally ofa higher American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) tumor stage at diagnosis (odds ratios[ORs] [95%CIs] between 2.9 [1.8-4.6] and 11.1 [5.8-21.2] for tumor stages between T1b and T3b and ORs [95%CIs] of 24.6 [13.6-44.4] for T4a and 29.1 [15.5-54.9] for T4b relative to T1a;P value for trend, <.001) than pigmented melanoma. Hazard of death from melanoma was higher for amelanotic than for pigmented melanoma (hazard ratio [HR], 2.0; 95%CI, 1.4-3.0)(P < .001), adjusted for age, sex, anatomic site, and study design variables, but survival did not differ once AJCC tumor stage was also taken into account (HR, 0.8; 95%CI, 0.5-1.2)(P = .36).CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE At the population level, survival after diagnosis of amelanotic melanoma is poorer than after pigmented melanoma because of its more advanced stage at diagnosis. It is probable that amelanotic melanomas present at more advanced tumor stages because they are difficult to diagnose. The association of amelanotic melanoma with presence of mitoses independently of Breslow thickness and other clinicopathologic characteristics suggests that amelanotic melanomas might also grow faster than pigmented melanomas. New strategies for early diagnosis and investigation of the biological properties of amelanotic melanoma are warranted.
Project description:Importance:We previously reported that survival is poorer from histopathologically amelanotic than pigmented melanoma because of more advanced stage at diagnosis. Identifying patients at risk of amelanotic melanoma might enable earlier diagnosis and improved survival; however, the phenotypic characteristics and underlying genetics associated with amelanotic melanoma are unknown. Objective:To determine whether phenotypic characteristics, carriage of MC1R variants, and history of amelanotic melanoma are associated with histopathologically amelanotic melanoma. Design, Setting, and Participants:The Genes, Environment, and Melanoma (GEM) study is an international cohort study that enrolled patients with incident primary cutaneous melanomas from population-based and hospital-based cancer registries (1998 to 2003). The GEM participants included here were 2387 patients with data for phenotypes, MC1R genotype, and primary melanomas scored for histopathologic pigmentation. Of these 2387 patients with incident melanomas scored for pigmentation, 527 had prior primary melanomas also scored for pigmentation. Main Outcomes and Measures:Associations of phenotypic characteristics (freckles, nevi, phenotypic index) and MC1R status with incident amelanotic melanomas were evaluated using logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, study center, and primary status (single or multiple primary melanoma); odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs are reported. Association of histopathologic pigmentation between incident and prior melanomas was analyzed using an exact logistic regression model. Results:This study included 2387 patients (1065 women, 1322 men; mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 58.3 [16.1] years) and 2917 primary melanomas. In a multivariable model including phenotypic characteristics, absence of back nevi, presence of many freckles, and a sun-sensitive phenotypic index were independently associated with amelanotic melanoma. Carriage of MC1R variants was associated with amelanotic melanoma but lost statistical significance in a model with phenotype. Further, patients with incident primary amelanotic melanomas were more likely to have had a prior primary amelanotic melanoma (OR, 4.62; 95% CI, 1.25-14.13) than those with incident primary pigmented melanomas. Conclusions and Relevance:Absence of back nevi, presence of many freckles, a sun-sensitive phenotypic index, and prior amelanotic melanoma increase odds for development of amelanotic melanoma. An increased index of suspicion for melanoma in presenting nonpigmented lesions and more careful examination for signs of amelanotic melanoma during periodic skin examination in patients at increased odds of amelanotic melanoma might lead to earlier diagnosis and improved survival.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Clinical diagnosis of early melanoma (Breslow thickness less than 0.8 mm) is crucial to disease-free survival. However, it is subjective and can be exceedingly difficult, leading to missed melanomas, or unnecessary excision of benign pigmented skin lesions. An objective technique is needed to improve the diagnosis of early melanoma. METHODS:We have developed a method to improve diagnosis of (thin) melanoma, based on Raman spectroscopy. In an ex vivo study in a tertiary referral (pigmented lesions) centre, high-wavenumber Raman spectra were collected from 174 freshly excised melanocytic lesions suspicious for melanoma. Measurements were performed on multiple locations within the lesions. A diagnostic model was developed and validated on an independent data set of 96 lesions. RESULTS:Approximately 60% of the melanomas included in this study were melanomas in situ. The invasive melanomas had an average Breslow thickness of 0.89 mm. The diagnostic model correctly classified all melanomas (including in situ) with a specificity of 43.8%, and showed a potential improvement of the number needed to treat from 6.0 to 2.7, at a sensitivity of 100%. CONCLUSION:This work signifies an important step towards accurate and objective clinical diagnosis of melanoma and in particular melanoma with Breslow thickness <0.8 mm.
Project description:Variation in the melanocortin-1receptor (MC1R) gene is associated with pigmentary phenotypes and risk of malignant melanoma. Few studies have reported on MC1R variation with respect to tumor characteristics, especially clinically important prognostic features. We examined associations between MC1R variants and histopathological melanoma characteristics. Study participants were enrolled from nine geographic regions in Australia, Canada, Italy and the United States and were genotyped for MC1R variants classified as high-risk [R] (D84E, R142H, R151C, R160W, and D294H, all nonsense and insertion/deletion) or low-risk [r] (all other nonsynonymous) variants. Tissue was available for 2,160 white participants of the Genes, Environment and Melanoma (GEM) Study with a first incident primary melanoma diagnosis, and underwent centralized pathologic review. No statistically significant associations were observed between MC1R variants and AJCC established prognostic tumor characteristics: Breslow thickness, presence of mitoses or presence of ulceration. However, MC1R was significantly associated with anatomic site of melanoma (p = 0.002) and a positive association was observed between carriage of more than one [R] variant and melanomas arising on the arms (OR = 2.39; 95% CI: 1.40, 4.09). We also observed statistically significant differences between sun-sensitive and sun-resistant individuals with respect to associations between MC1R genotype and AJCC prognostic tumor characteristics. Our results suggest inherited variation in MC1R may play an influential role in anatomic site presentation of melanomas and may differ with respect to skin pigmentation phenotype.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The updated American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging criteria for melanoma remain unable to identify high-risk stage I tumour subsets. OBJECTIVES:To determine the utility of epidermal autophagy and beclin 1 regulator 1 (AMBRA1)/loricrin (AMLo) expression as a prognostic biomarker for AJCC stage I cutaneous melanoma. METHODS:Peritumoral AMBRA1 expression was evaluated in a retrospective discovery cohort of 76 AJCC stage I melanomas. AMLo expression was correlated with clinical outcomes up to 12 years in two independent powered, retrospective validation and qualification cohorts comprising 379 AJCC stage I melanomas. RESULTS:Decreased AMBRA1 expression in the epidermis overlying primary melanomas in a discovery cohort of 76 AJCC stage I tumours was associated with a 7-year disease-free survival (DFS) rate of 81·5% vs. 100% survival with maintained AMBRA1 (P < 0·081). Following an immunohistochemistry protocol for semi-quantitative analysis of AMLo, analysis was undertaken in validation (n = 218) and qualification cohorts (n = 161) of AJCC stage I melanomas. Combined cohort analysis revealed a DFS rate of 98·3% in the AMLo low-risk group (n = 239) vs. 85·4% in the AMLo high-risk cohort (n = 140; P < 0·001). Subcohort multivariate analysis revealed that an AMLo hazard ratio (HR) of 4·04 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·69-9·66; P = 0·002] is a stronger predictor of DFS than Breslow depth (HR 2·97, 95% CI 0·93-9·56; P = 0·068) in stage IB patients. CONCLUSIONS:Loss of AMLo expression in the epidermis overlying primary AJCC stage I melanomas identifies high-risk tumour subsets independently of Breslow depth. What's already known about this topic? There is an unmet clinical need for biomarkers of early-stage melanoma. Autophagy and beclin 1 regulator 1 (AMBRA1) is a proautophagy regulatory protein with known roles in cell proliferation and differentiation, and is a known tumour suppressor. Loricrin is a marker of epidermal terminal differentiation. What does this study add? AMBRA1 has a functional role in keratinocyte/epidermal proliferation and differentiation. The combined decrease/loss of peritumoral AMBRA1 and loricrin is associated with a significantly increased risk of metastatic spread in American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage I tumours vs. melanomas, in which peritumoral AMBRA1 and loricrin are maintained, independently of Breslow depth. What is the translational message? The integration of peritumoral epidermal AMBRA1/loricrin biomarker expression into melanoma care guidelines will facilitate more accurate, personalized risk stratification for patients with AJCC stage I melanomas, thereby facilitating stratification for appropriate follow-up and informing postdiagnostic investigations, including sentinel lymph node biopsy, ultimately resulting in improved disease outcomes and rationalization of healthcare costs.
Project description:1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 affects proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis and protects DNA against oxidative damage with a net tumorostatic and anticarcinogenic effect. It acts through a specific nuclear receptor that is widely distributed through the body. Although a beneficial role of vitamin D in melanoma patients has been suggested, there is lack of information on the changes in the expression pattern of vitamin D receptor during progression of pigmented lesions. Using immunohistochemistry, we analyzed the expression of vitamin D receptor in 140 samples obtained form 82 patients, including 25 benign nevi, 70 primary cutaneous melanomas, 35 metastases, 5 re-excisions, and 5 normal skin biopsies. The strongest expression was observed in normal skin that significantly decreased in melanocytic proliferations with the following order of expression: normal skin > melanocytic nevi > melanomas = metastases. The vitamin D receptor expression in skin surrounding nevi and melanoma was also significantly reduced as compared to normal skin. Tumor-infiltrating and lymph node lymphocytes retained high levels of vitamin D receptor. There was negative correlation between tumor progression and vitamin D receptor expression with a remarkable decrease of the immunoreactivity in nuclei of melanoma cells at vertical versus radial growth phases and with metastatic melanomas showing the lowest cytoplasmic receptor staining. Furthermore, lack of the receptor expression in primary melanomas and metastases was related to shorter overall patients' survival. In addition, the receptor expression decreased in melanized melanoma cells in comparison to amelanotic or poorly pigmented cells. Therefore, we propose that reduction or absence of vitamin D receptor is linked to progression of melanocytic lesions, that its lack affects survival of melanoma patients, and that melanogenesis can attenuate receptor expression. In conclusion, changes in vitamin D receptor expression pattern can serve as important variables for diagnosis, predicting clinical outcome of the disease, and/or as a guidance for novel therapy of melanomas based on use of vitamin D or its derivatives.
Project description:Amelanotic/hypomelanotic melanoma is a clinicopathologic subtype with absent or minimal melanin. This study assessed previously reported coding variants in albinism genes (TYR, OCA2, TYRP1, SLC45A2, SLC24A5, LRMDA) and common intronic, regulatory variants of OCA2 in individuals with amelanotic/hypomelanotic melanoma, pigmented melanoma cases and controls. Exome sequencing was available for 28 individuals with amelanotic/hypomelanotic melanoma and 303 individuals with pigmented melanoma, which were compared to whole exome data from 1144 Australian controls. Microarray genotyping was available for a further 17 amelanotic/hypomelanotic melanoma, 86 pigmented melanoma, 147 melanoma cases (pigmentation unknown) and 652 unaffected controls. Rare deleterious variants in TYR/OCA1 were more common in amelanotic/hypomelanotic melanoma cases than pigmented melanoma cases (set mixed model association tests P = 0.0088). The OCA2 hypomorphic allele p.V443I was more common in melanoma cases (1.8%) than controls (1.0%, X2 P = 0.02), and more so in amelanotic/hypomelanotic melanoma (4.4%, X2 P = 0.007). No amelanotic/hypomelanotic melanoma cases carried an eye and skin darkening haplotype of OCA2 (including rs7174027), present in 7.1% of pigmented melanoma cases (P = 0.0005) and 9.4% controls. Variants in TYR and OCA2 may play a role in amelanotic/hypomelanotic melanoma susceptibility. We suggest that somatic loss of function at these loci could contribute to the loss of tumor pigmentation, consistent with this we found a higher rate of somatic mutation in TYR/OCA2 in amelanotic/hypomelanotic melanoma vs pigmented melanoma samples (28.6% vs 3.0%; P = 0.021) from The Cancer Genome Atlas Skin Cutaneous Melanoma collection.
Project description:NRAS and BRAF mutations in melanoma inform current treatment paradigms, but their role in survival from primary melanoma has not been established. Identification of patients at high risk of melanoma-related death based on their primary melanoma characteristics before evidence of recurrence could inform recommendations for patient follow-up and eligibility for adjuvant trials.To determine tumor characteristics and survival from primary melanoma by somatic NRAS and BRAF status.A population-based study with a median follow-up of 7.6 years (through 2007), including 912 patients from the United States and Australia in the Genes, Environment, and Melanoma (GEM) Study, with first primary cutaneous melanoma diagnosed in the year 2000 and analyzed for NRAS and BRAF mutations.Tumor characteristics and melanoma-specific survival of primary melanoma by NRAS and BRAF mutational status.The melanomas were 13% NRAS+, 30% BRAF+, and 57% with neither NRAS nor BRAF mutation (wildtype [WT]). In a multivariable model including clinicopathologic characteristics, relative to WT melanoma (with results reported as odds ratios [95% CIs]), NRAS+ melanoma was associated with presence of mitoses (1.8 [1.0-3.3]), lower tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) grade (nonbrisk, 0.5 [0.3-0.8]; and brisk, 0.3 [0.5-0.7] [vs absent TILs]), and anatomic site other than scalp/neck (0.1 [0.01-0.6] for scalp/neck vs trunk/pelvis), and BRAF+ melanoma was associated with younger age (ages 50-69 years, 0.7 [0.5-1.0]; and ages >70 years, 0.5 [0.3-0.8] [vs <50 years]), superficial spreading subtype (nodular, 0.5 [0.2-1.0]; lentigo maligna, 0.4 [0.2-0.7]; and unclassified/other, 0.2 [0.1-0.5] [vs superficial spreading]), and presence of mitoses (1.7 [1.1-2.6]) (P?<?.05 for all). There was no significant difference in melanoma-specific survival (reported as hazard ratios [95% CIs]) for melanoma harboring mutations in NRAS (1.7 [0.8-3.4]) or BRAF (1.5 [0.8-2.9]) compared with WT melanoma, as adjusted for age, sex, site, American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) tumor stage, TIL grade, and study center. However, melanoma-specific survival was significantly poorer for higher-risk (T2b or higher stage) tumors with NRAS (2.9 [1.1-7.7]) or BRAF (3.1 [1.2-8.5]) mutations (P?=?.04) but not for lower-risk (T2a or lower) tumors with NRAS (0.9 [0.3-3.0]) or BRAF (0.6 [0.2-1.7]) (P?=?.65), as adjusted for age, sex, site, AJCC tumor stage, TIL grade, and study center.Lower TIL grade for NRAS+ melanoma suggests it has a more immunosuppressed microenvironment, which may affect its response to immunotherapies. The approximate 3-fold increased risk of death for higher-risk tumors harboring NRAS or BRAF mutations after adjusting for other prognostic factors compared with WT melanomas indicates that the prognostic implication of these mutations deserves further investigation, particularly in higher–AJCC stage primary melanomas.
Project description:To study the effect of melanogenesis on HIF-1? expression and attendant pathways, we used stable human and hamster melanoma cell lines in which the amelanotic vs. melanotic phenotypes are dependent upon the concentration of melanogenesis precursors in the culture media. The induction of melanin pigmentation led to significant up-regulation of HIF-1?, but not HIF-2?, protein in melanized cells for both lines. Similar upregulation of nuclear HIF-1? was observed in excisions of advanced melanotic vs. amelanotic melanomas. In cultured cells, melanogenesis also significantly stimulated expression of classical HIF-1-dependent target genes involved in angiogenesis and cellular metabolism, including glucose metabolism and stimulation of activity of key enzymes in the glycolytic pathway. Several other stress related genes containing putative HRE consensus sites were also upregulated by melanogenesis, concurrently with modulation of expression of HIF-1-independent genes encoding for steroidogenic enzymes, cytokines and growth factors. Immunohistochemical studies using a large panel of pigmented lesions revealed that higher levels of HIF-1? and GLUT-1 were detected in advanced melanomas in comparison to melanocytic nevi or thin melanomas localized to the skin. However, the effects on overall or disease free survival in melanoma patients were modest or absent for GLUT-1 or for HIF-1?, respectively. In conclusion, induction of the melanogenic pathway leads to robust upregulation of HIF-1-dependent and independent pathways in cultured melanoma cells, suggesting a key role for melanogenesis in regulation of cellular metabolism.
Project description:Epidemiological evidence shows that people with thicker, or higher stage, melanomas have lower vitamin D status compared to those with thinner tumours. Evidence from experimental studies is inconsistent, but some suggest that administration of vitamin D metabolites can decrease tumour aggressiveness.Determine the relationship between vitamin D status at diagnosis and melanoma thickness (as an indicator of prognosis), in a subtropical setting with high melanoma incidence.We recruited 100 melanoma patients in Brisbane, Australia within days of their diagnosis. Data on factors previously associated with melanoma risk or prognosis were collected by questionnaire and physical examination. Serum for 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 [25(OH)D] levels was collected prior to wider excision biopsy; histological indicators of prognosis were obtained from pathology reports. We used multivariable logistic regression models to analyse the association between Breslow thickness (≥0.75 mm compared to <0.75 mm), Clark level (2-5 compared to 1) and presence of mitoses, and vitamin D status.Serum 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L (versus ≥50 nmol/L) was associated with a nearly four-fold increase in risk of having a thicker tumour (Adjusted OR = 3.82, 95% CI: 1.03, 14.14; p = 0.04, adjusted for age, sex, skin phototype, body mass index and season at diagnosis). There was no significant association with Clark level or presence of mitosis. Serum 25(OH)D levels in the highest quartile (≥69.8 nmol/L) were not associated with a more favourable prognosis.Vitamin D deficiency at the time of melanoma diagnosis is associated with thicker tumours that are likely to have a poorer prognosis. Ensuring vitamin D levels of 50 nmol/L or higher in this population could potentially result in 18% of melanomas having Breslow thickness of <0.75 mm rather than ≥0.75 mm.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Nodular melanoma (NM) is more likely to be fatal compared with other melanoma subtypes, an effect attributed to its greater Breslow thickness.<h4>Methods</h4>Clinicopathological features of NM and superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) diagnosed in 17 centers in Europe (n?=?15), the United States, and Australia between 2006 and 2015, were analyzed by multivariable logistic regression analysis, with emphasis on thin (T1???1.0?mm) melanomas. Cox analysis assessed melanoma-specific survival. All statistical tests were two sided.<h4>Results</h4>In all, 20 132 melanomas (NM: 5062, SSM: 15 070) were included. Compared with T1 SSM, T1 NM was less likely to have regression (odds ratio [OR] = 0.46, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.29 to 0.72) or nevus remnants histologically (OR = 0.60, 95% CI = 0.42 to 0.85), and more likely to have mitoses (OR = 1.97, 95% CI = 1.33 to 2.93) and regional metastasis (OR = 1.77, 95% CI = 1.02 to 3.05). T1 NM had a higher mitotic rate than T1 SSM (adjusted geometric mean = 2.2, 95% CI?=?1.9 to 2.5 vs 1.6, 95% CI = 1.5 to 1.7 per mm2, P?<?.001). Cox multivariable analysis showed a higher risk for melanoma-specific death for NM compared with SSM for T1 (HR = 2.10, 95% CI = 1.24 to 3.56) and T2 melanomas (HR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.68), and after accounting for center heterogeneity, the difference was statistically significant only for T1 (HR = 2.20, 95% CI = 1.28 to 3.78). The NM subtype did not confer increased risk within each stratum (among localized tumors or cases with regional metastasis).<h4>Conclusions</h4>T1 NM (compared with T1 SSM) was associated with a constellation of aggressive characteristics that may confer a worse prognosis. Our results indicate NM is a high-risk melanoma subtype that should be considered for inclusion in future prognostic classifications of melanoma.