Genomic Landscape of Spitzoid Neoplasms Impacting Patient Management.
ABSTRACT: 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:Spitzoid neoplasms are a challenging group of cutaneous melanocytic proliferations that occur in children or adolescents but can also arise in the elderly. They are characterized by epithelioid and/ or spindle-shaped melanocytes with a stromal background of variable amounts of lymphocytes, blood vessels and sclerosis. According to the WHO 2018 classification, Spitzoid melanocytic lesions are classified as benign Spitz nevi (SN), atypical Spitz tumors (AST) or malignant Spitz tumors (MST). The intermediate AST category represents a diagnostically challenging group since on purely histopathological grounds, their benign or malignant character remains unpredictable. This results in uncertainties in patient management and prognosis. The molecular properties of Spitzoid lesions, especially their transcriptomic landscape, remain poorly understood and genomic alterations in melanoma-associated oncogenes are typically absent. The aim of this study was to characterize the transcriptome of Spitzoid melanocytic neoplasms with digital mRNA expression profiling. Formalin-fixed-paraffin-embedded samples (including 27 SN, 10 AST and 14 MST) were analyzed using the RNA NanoString nCounter PanCancer Pathways Gene Expression panel. The number of significantly differentially expressed genes in SN vs. MST, SN vs. AST and AST vs. MST was 68, 167 and 18, respectively. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed an upregulation of pathways related to epithelial mesenchymal transition, immunomodulatory-, angiogenesis- as well as myogenesis associated processes in AST and MST. In addition, a specific gene expression signature of SN vs. MST was discovered based on the top-ranked six most informative gene expression markers: NRAS, NF1, BMP2, EIF2B4, IFNA17 and FZD9. The AST samples showed intermediate levels of the identified signature. This implies that the identified gene expression signature can potentially be used to distinguish high-grade from low-grade AST. This combined histopathological and transcriptomic methodology is promising for diagnostics of Spitzoid neoplasms and patient management in dermatological oncology in the future. Overall design: mRNA expression of 27 Spitz nevi (SN), 10 atypical Spitz tumors (AST) and 14 malignant Spitz tumors (MST) were analyzed. Molecular profiling was done using the RNA NanoString nCounter Gene Expression Platform (No. of genes = 770). Gene expression counts were normalized based on total library size. As such, both the housekeeping and endogenous genes were used for normalization. The studied samples showed a mean library size of 307914 counts (median 292412; range 789054 (sample AST4) to 19042 (sample MST4)). All analyses were performed using R and Bioconductor packages. Marker Discovery and Validation of differentially expressed genes from the nCounter data was done using the limma and voom method in R. Three conditions were studied: (i) SN vs. MST, (ii) SN vs. AST, and (iii) AST vs. MST. The limma procedure borrows information across all genes, which makes the analysis robust even when the sample size is small (Ritchie, Phipson et al. 2015). The voom procedure was applied to non-parametrically estimate the mean-variance relationship of the log-transformed gene counts, which is important when dealing with expression count data
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: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: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: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:There is a significant need for the development of diagnostic tools that can precisely distinguish Spitz nevi and spitzoid melanomas. Here, we report the development of a PCR-based quantitative diagnostic assay for spitzoid melanocytic lesions utilizing the expression ratio of neuropilin-2 and melan-A genes in primary tumor specimens. We find that the expression ratio of neuropilin-2/melan-A is significantly increased in spitzoid melanomas compared with Spitz nevi. The diagnostic potential of this quantitative assay was validated in two independent sets of patient samples as demonstrated in a receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showing an area under the curve value of 91.8%. Furthermore, the assay was found to quantitatively distinguish the clinical nature of atypical spitzoid melanocytic lesions that were diagnostically undetermined using histopathologic criteria alone. Our data indicate that this quantitative assay may be used as a tool in determining the diagnostic classification of histologically challenging spitzoid tumors.
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: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: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:Melanoma skin cancer remains the leading cause of skin cancer-related deaths. Spitz lesions represent a subset of melanocytic skin lesions characterized by epithelioid or spindled melanocytes organized in nests. These lesions occupy a spectrum ranging from benign Spitz and atypical Spitz lesions all the way to malignant Spitz tumors. Appropriate management is reliant on accurate diagnostic classification, yet this effort remains challenging using current light microscopic techniques. The discovery of novel biomarkers such as microRNAs (miR) may ultimately be a useful diagnostic adjunct for the evaluation of Spitz lesions. miR expression profiles have been suggested for non-Spitz melanomas but have yet to be ascribed to Spitz lesions. We hypothesized that distinct miR expression profiles would be associated with different lesions along the Spitz spectrum.RNAs extracted from paraffin-embedded, formalin-fixed tissues of 11 resected skin lesions including benign nevi (n = 2), benign Spitz lesions (n = 3), atypical Spitz lesions (n = 3), and malignant Spitz tumors (n = 3) were analyzed by the NanoString platform for simultaneous evaluation of over 800 miRs in each patient sample.Benign Spitz lesions had increased expression of miR-21-5p and miR-363-3p compared with those of benign nevi. Malignant Spitz lesions exhibited overexpression of miR-21-5p, miR-155-5p, and miR-1283 relative to both benign nevi and benign Spitz tumors. Notably, atypical Spitz tumors had increased expression of miR-451a and decreased expression of miR-155-5p expression relative to malignant Spitz lesions. Conversely, atypical Spitz lesions had increased expression of miR-21-5p, miR-34a-5p, miR-451a, miR-1283, and miR-1260a relative to benign Spitz tumors.Overall, distinct miR profiles are suggested among Spitz lesions of varying malignant potential with some similarities to non-Spitz melanoma tumors. This work demonstrates the feasibility of this analytic method and forms the basis for further validation studies.