TERT Promoter Mutations Are Predictive of Aggressive Clinical Behavior in Patients with Spitzoid Melanocytic Neoplasms.
ABSTRACT: Spitzoid neoplasms constitute a morphologically distinct category of melanocytic tumors, encompassing Spitz nevus (benign), atypical Spitz tumor (intermediate malignant potential), and spitzoid melanoma (fully malignant). Currently, no reliable histopathological criteria or molecular marker is known to distinguish borderline from overtly malignant neoplasms. Because TERT promoter (TERT-p) mutations are common in inherently aggressive cutaneous conventional melanoma, we sought to evaluate their prognostic significance in spitzoid neoplasms. We analyzed tumors labeled as atypical Spitz tumor or spitzoid melanoma from 56 patients with available follow-up data for the association of TERT-p mutations, biallelic CDKN2A deletion, biallelic PTEN deletion, kinase fusions, BRAF/NRAS mutations, nodal status, and histopathological parameters with risk of hematogenous metastasis. Four patients died of disseminated disease and 52 patients were alive and disease free without extranodal metastasis (median follow-up, 32.5 months). We found TERT-p mutations in samples from the 4 patients who developed hematogenous metastasis but in none of tumors from patients who had favorable outcomes. Presence of TERT-p mutations was the most significant predictor of haematogenous dissemination (P < 0.0001) among variables analyzed. We conclude that TERT-p mutations identify a clinically high-risk subset of patients with spitzoid tumors. Application of TERT-p mutational assays for risk stratification in the clinic requires large-scale validation.
Project description:Melanomas that have histopathologic features that overlap with those of Spitz nevus are referred to as spitzoid melanomas. However, the diagnostic concept is used inconsistently and genomic analyses suggest it is a heterogeneous category. Spitz tumors, the spectrum of melanocytic neoplasms extending from Spitz nevi to their malignant counterpart Spitz melanoma, are defined in the 2018 WHO classification of skin tumors by the presence of specific genetic alterations, such as kinase fusions or HRAS mutations. It is unclear what fraction of "spitzoid melanomas" defined solely by their histopathologic features belong to the category of Spitz melanoma or to other melanoma subtypes. We assembled a cohort of 25 spitzoid melanomas diagnosed at a single institution over an 8-year period and performed high-coverage DNA sequencing of 480 cancer related genes. Transcriptome wide RNA sequencing was performed for select cases. Only nine cases (36%) had genetic alterations characteristic of Spitz melanoma, including HRAS mutation or fusion involving BRAF, ALK, NTRK1, or MAP3K8. The remaining cases were divided into those with an MAPK activating mutation and those without an MAPK activating mutation. Both Spitz melanoma and spitzoid melanomas in which an MAPK-activating mutation could not be identified tended to occur in younger patients on skin with little solar elastosis, infrequently harbored TERT promoter mutations, and had a lower burden of pathogenic mutations than spitzoid melanomas with non-Spitz MAPK-activating mutations. The MAPK-activating mutations identified affected non-V600 residues of BRAF as well as NRAS, MAP2K1/2, NF1, and KIT, while BRAF V600 mutations, the most common mutations in melanomas of the WHO low-CSD category, were entirely absent. While the "spitzoid melanomas" comprising our cohort were enriched for bona fide Spitz melanomas, the majority of melanomas fell outside of the genetically defined category of Spitz melanomas, indicating that histomorphology is an unreliable predictor of Spitz lineage.
Project description:Spitzoid neoplasms are a group of melanocytic tumours with distinctive histopathological features. They include benign tumours (Spitz naevi), malignant tumours (spitzoid melanomas) and tumours with borderline histopathological features and uncertain clinical outcome (atypical Spitz tumours). Their genetic underpinnings are poorly understood, and alterations in common melanoma-associated oncogenes are typically absent. Here we show that spitzoid neoplasms harbour kinase fusions of ROS1 (17%), NTRK1 (16%), ALK (10%), BRAF (5%) and RET (3%) in a mutually exclusive pattern. The chimeric proteins are constitutively active, stimulate oncogenic signalling pathways, are tumourigenic and are found in the entire biologic spectrum of spitzoid neoplasms, including 55% of Spitz naevi, 56% of atypical Spitz tumours and 39% of spitzoid melanomas. Kinase inhibitors suppress the oncogenic signalling of the fusion proteins in vitro. In summary, kinase fusions account for the majority of oncogenic aberrations in spitzoid neoplasms and may serve as therapeutic targets for metastatic spitzoid melanomas.
Project description:Spitzoid neoplasms are a distinct group of melanocytic proliferations characterized by epithelioid and/ or spindle shaped melanocytes. Intermediate forms that share features of both benign Spitz nevi (SN) and Spitz melanoma, i.e., malignant Spitz tumor (MST) represent a diagnostically and clinically challenging group of melanocytic lesions. A multitude of descriptive diagnostic terms exist for these ambiguous lesions with atypical Spitz tumor (AST) or Spitz tumor of uncertain malignant potential (STUMP) just naming two of them. This diagnostic gray zone creates confusion and high insecurity in clinicians and in patients. Biological behavior and clinical course of this intermediate group still remains largely unknown, often leading to difficulties with uncertainties in clinical management and prognosis. Consequently, a better stratification of Spitzoid neoplasms in benign and malignant forms is required thereby keeping the diagnostic group of AST/STUMP as small as possible. Ancillary diagnostic techniques such as immunohistochemistry, comparative genomic hybridization, fluorescence in situ hybridization, next generation sequencing, micro RNA and mRNA analysis as well as mass spectrometry imaging offer new opportunities for the distinct diagnosis, thereby allowing the best clinical management of Spitzoid neoplasms. This review gives an overview on these additional diagnostic techniques and the recent developments in the field of molecular genetic alterations in Spitzoid neoplasms. We also discuss how the recent findings might facilitate the diagnosis and stratification of atypical Spitzoid neoplasms and how these findings will impact the diagnostic work up as well as patient management. We suggest a stepwise implementation of ancillary diagnostic techniques thereby integrating immunohistochemistry and molecular pathology findings in the diagnosis of challenging ambiguous Spitzoid neoplasms. Finally, we will give an outlook on pending future research objectives in the field of Spitzoid melanocytic lesions.
Project description:We performed exome sequencing of 77 melanocytic specimens composed of Spitz nevi (n=29), Spitzoid melanomas (n=27), and benign melanocytic nevi (n=21), and compared the results with published melanoma sequencing data. Our study highlights the prominent similarity between Spitzoid and conventional melanomas with similar copy number changes and high and equal numbers of ultraviolet-induced coding mutations affecting similar driver genes. Mutations in MEN1, PRKAR1A, and DNMT3A in Spitzoid melanomas may indicate involvement of the protein kinase A pathway, or a role of DNA methylation in the disease. Other than activating HRAS variants, there were few additional mutations in Spitz nevi, and few copy number changes other than 11p amplification and chromosome 9 deletions. Similarly, there were no large-scale copy number alterations and few somatic alterations other than activating BRAF or NRAS mutations in conventional nevi. A presumed melanoma driver mutation (IDH1Arg132Cys) was revealed in one of the benign nevi. In conclusion, our exome data show significantly lower somatic mutation burden in both Spitz and conventional nevi compared with their malignant counterparts, and high genetic similarity between Spitzoid and conventional melanoma.
Project description:Kinase activation by chromosomal translocations is a common mechanism that drives tumorigenesis in spitzoid neoplasms. To explore the landscape of fusion transcripts in these tumors, we performed whole-transcriptome sequencing using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues in malignant or biologically indeterminate spitzoid tumors from 7 patients (age 2-14 years). RNA sequence libraries enriched for coding regions were prepared and the sequencing was analyzed by a novel assembly-based algorithm designed for detecting complex fusions. In addition, tumor samples were screened for hotspot TERT promoter mutations, and telomerase expression was assessed by TERT mRNA in situ hybridization (ISH). Two patients had widespread metastasis and subsequently died of disease, and 5 patients had a benign clinical course on limited follow-up (mean: 30 months). RNA sequencing and TERT mRNA ISH were successful in six tumors and unsuccessful in one disseminating tumor because of low RNA quality. RNA sequencing identified a kinase fusion in five of the six sequenced tumors: TPM3-NTRK1 (2 tumors), complex rearrangements involving TPM3, ALK, and IL6R (1 tumor), BAIAP2L1-BRAF (1 tumor), and EML4-BRAF (1 disseminating tumor). All predicted chimeric transcripts were expressed at high levels and contained the intact kinase domain. In addition, two tumors each contained a second fusion gene, ARID1B-SNX9 or PTPRZ1-NFAM1. The detected chimeric genes were validated by home-brew break-apart or fusion fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The two disseminating tumors each harbored the TERT promoter -124C>T (Chr 5:1,295,228 hg19 coordinate) mutation, whereas the remaining five tumors retained the wild-type gene. The presence of the -124C>T mutation correlated with telomerase expression by TERT mRNA ISH. In summary, we demonstrated complex fusion transcripts and novel partner genes for BRAF by RNA sequencing of FFPE samples. The diversity of gene fusions demonstrated by RNA sequencing defines the molecular heterogeneity of spitzoid neoplasms.
Project description:Histopathological evaluation of melanocytic tumours usually allows reliable distinction of benign melanocytic naevi from melanoma. More difficult is the histopathological classification of Spitz tumours, a heterogeneous group of tumours composed of large epithelioid or spindle-shaped melanocytes. Spitz tumours are biologically distinct from conventional melanocytic naevi and melanoma, as exemplified by their distinct patterns of genetic aberrations. Whereas common acquired naevi and melanoma often harbour BRAF mutations, NRAS mutations, or inactivation of NF1, Spitz tumours show HRAS mutations, inactivation of BAP1 (often combined with BRAF mutations), or genomic rearrangements involving the kinases ALK, ROS1, NTRK1, BRAF, RET, and MET. In Spitz naevi, which lack significant histological atypia, all of these mitogenic driver aberrations trigger rapid cell proliferation, but after an initial growth phase, various tumour suppressive mechanisms stably block further growth. In some tumours, additional genomic aberrations may abrogate various tumour suppressive mechanisms, such as cell-cycle arrest, telomere shortening, or DNA damage response. The melanocytes then start to grow in a less organised fashion and may spread to regional lymph nodes, and are termed atypical Spitz tumours. Upon acquisition of even more aberrations, which often activate additional oncogenic pathways or alter cell differentiation, the neoplastic cells become entirely malignant and may colonise and take over distant organs (spitzoid melanoma). The sequential acquisition of genomic aberrations suggests that Spitz tumours represent a continuous biological spectrum, rather than a dichotomy of benign versus malignant, and that tumours with ambiguous histological features (atypical Spitz tumours) might be best classified as low-grade melanocytic tumours. The number of genetic aberrations usually correlates with the degree of histological atypia and explains why existing ancillary genetic techniques, such as array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) or fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), are usually capable of accurately classifying histologically benign and malignant Spitz tumours, but are not very helpful in the diagnosis of ambiguous melanocytic lesions. Nevertheless, we expect that progress in our understanding of tumour progression will refine the classification of spitzoid melanocytic tumours in the near future. By integrating clinical, pathological, and genetic criteria, distinct tumour subsets will be defined within the heterogeneous group of Spitz tumours, which will eventually lead to improvements in diagnosis, prognosis and therapy.
Project description:Despite remarkable advances in the genomic characterization of adult melanoma, the molecular pathogenesis of pediatric melanoma remains largely unknown. We analyzed 15 conventional melanomas (CMs), 3 melanomas arising in congenital nevi (CNMs), and 5 spitzoid melanomas (SMs), using various platforms, including whole genome or exome sequencing, the molecular inversion probe assay, and/or targeted sequencing. CMs demonstrated a high burden of somatic single-nucleotide variations (SNVs), with each case containing a TERT promoter (TERT-p) mutation, 13/15 containing an activating BRAF V600 mutation, and >80% of the identified SNVs consistent with UV damage. In contrast, the three CNMs contained an activating NRAS Q61 mutation and no TERT-p mutations. SMs were characterized by chromosomal rearrangements resulting in activated kinase signaling in 40%, and an absence of TERT-p mutations, except for the one SM that succumbed to hematogenous metastasis. We conclude that pediatric CM has a very similar UV-induced mutational spectrum to that found in the adult counterpart, emphasizing the need to promote sun protection practices in early life and to improve access to therapeutic agents being explored in adults in young patients. In contrast, the pathogenesis of CNM appears to be distinct. TERT-p mutations may identify the rare subset of spitzoid melanocytic lesions prone to disseminate.
Project description:Spitz nevi are uncommon melanocytic neoplasms found in children. Historically, the diagnosis and management of these tumors has lacked consensus among oncologists, pathologists, plastic surgeons, and dermatologists. Once interpreted and treated as a "juvenile melanoma", many have argued for the benignancy of such tumors in certain patient age groups, encouraging a conservative approach. The lack of consensus surrounding the diagnosis and perceived malignant potential of these tumors has led physicians to approach them on a case-by-case basis and institutional protocols. To date, no evidence-based management guideline exists. The objective of this systematic review is to both collect and appraise the evidence on the diagnosis and management of these tumors.A comprehensive electronic literature search will be conducted in PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Library from inception to December 2016. Our search involved collaborating with a healthcare librarian to create a strategy for the OVID/MEDLINE databases. A search of electronic databases for oncology, pathology, plastic surgery, and dermatology abstracts will be performed. Key search terms will include, among several others, "Spitz nevi," "Spitzoid melanoma," "juvenile tumor," and "pediatric". The language of publication will be restricted to English and French. Wherever data allows, meta-analyses will be used to assess differences between Spitz nevi and the tumor of comparison. Additionally, data extraction and summarization using tables will be performed. This review has been registered with PROSPERO (CRD42016034045).This review will systematically and comprehensively review diagnostic and management practices associated with the Spitz nevus. This overview of current literature will hopefully provide the foundation for future standardization of clinical practice.PROSPERO CRD42016034045.
Project description:Spitz nevi, atypical Spitz tumors and spitzoid melanomas ('spitzoid lesions') represent controversial and poorly understood cutaneous melanocytic lesions that are difficult to diagnose histologically. It is unknown how these terms are used by pathologists.We describe use of Spitz-related terminology using data from the Melanoma Pathology (M-Path) study database comprising pathologists' interpretations of biopsy slides, a nation-wide study evaluating practicing US pathologists' (N?=?187) diagnoses of melanocytic lesions (8976 independent diagnostic assessments on 240 total test cases, with 1 slide per case).Most pathologists (90%) used the Spitz-related terminology. However, significant variation exists in which specific lesions were diagnosed as spitzoid and in the corresponding treatment recommendations. Recommendations ranged from 'no further treatment' to 'wide excision of 10?mm or greater' with no category capturing more than 50% of responses. For spitzoid melanoma diagnoses, 90% of pathologists recommended excision with ?10?mm margin. Pathologists report less confidence in diagnosing these lesions compared with other melanocytic proliferations and are more likely to request second opinions and additional clinical information (all p?<?0.05).Spitzoid lesions are often not classified in any standardized way, evoke uncertainty in diagnosis by pathologists, and elicit variability in treatment recommendations.
Project description:Germline loss-of-function mutations in BAP1 are associated with the development of cutaneous melanocytic tumors with some histopathologic characteristics seen in Spitz nevi. Similar melanocytic tumors occurring in a sporadic setting have been demonstrated to have biallelic loss of BAP1. In some of these sporadic tumors, loss of BAP1 occurs through mutation of 1 allele and genomic loss of the other. We screened our database of comparative genomic hybridization profiles of ambiguous melanocytic tumors to identify cases with a single genomic event involving loss of the BAP1 locus. The prevalence of tumors with a single genomic event involving loss of BAP1 was 6.7% in our study population. We further characterized the BAP1 status in 17 of these tumors with available additional material, confirming loss of BAP1 in all cases. We describe BAP1 loss in a blue nevus-like melanoma and further expand the histopathologic spectrum of spitzoid melanocytic neoplasms with BAP1 loss.