Spitz melanoma is a distinct subset of spitzoid melanoma.
ABSTRACT: 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: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 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: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, 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:<h4>Background</h4>BRAF(V600) inhibitors have offered a new gateway for better treatment of metastatic melanoma. However, the overall efficacy of BRAF(V600) inhibitors has been lower than expected in clinical trials, and many patients have shown resistance to the drug's effect. We hypothesized that somatic mutations in the Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase (PI3K) pathway, which promotes proliferation and survival, may coincide with BRAF(V600) mutations and contribute to chemotherapeutic resistance.<h4>Methods</h4>We performed a somatic mutation profiling study using the 454 FLX pyrosequencing platform in order to identify candidate cancer genes within the MAPK and PI3K pathways of melanoma patients. Somatic mutations of theses candidate cancer genes were then confirmed using Sanger sequencing.<h4>Results</h4>As expected, BRAF(V600) mutations were seen in 51% of the melanomas, whereas NRAS mutations were seen in 19% of the melanomas. However, PI3K pathway mutations, though more heterogeneous, were present in 41% of the melanoma, with PTEN being the highest mutated PI3K gene in melanomas (22%). Interestingly, several novel PI3K pathway mutations were discovered in MTOR, IRS4, PIK3R1, PIK3R4, PIK3R5, and NFKB1. PI3K pathway mutations co-occurred with BRAF(V600) mutations in 17% of the tumors and co-occurred with 9% of NRAS mutant tumors, implying cooperativity between these pathways in terms of melanoma progression.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These novel PI3K pathway somatic mutations could provide alternative survival and proliferative pathways for metastatic melanoma cells. They therefore may be potential chemotherapeutic targets for melanoma patients who exhibit resistance to BRAF(V600) inhibitors.
Project description:Melanomas are characterized by activating "driver" mutations in BRAF, NRAS, KIT, GNAQ, and GNA11. Resultant mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway signaling makes some melanomas susceptible to BRAF (BRAF V600 mutations), MEK1/2 (BRAF V600, L597, fusions; NRAS mutations), or other kinase inhibitors (KIT), respectively. Among driver-negative ("pan-negative") patients, an unexplained heterogeneity of response to MEK1/2 inhibitors has been observed. Analysis of 16 pan-negative melanoma cell lines revealed that 8 (50%; termed Class I) are sensitive to the MEK1/2 inhibitor, trametinib, similar to BRAF V600E melanomas. A second set (termed Class II) display reduced trametinib sensitivity, paradoxical activation of MEK1/2 and basal activation of ERBBs 1, 2, and 3 (4 lines, 25%). In 3 of these lines, PI3K/AKT and MAPK pathway signaling is abrogated using the ERBB inhibitor, afatinib, and proliferation is even further reduced upon the addition of trametinib. A potential mechanism of ERBB activation in Class II melanomas is minimal expression of the ERK1/2 phosphatase, DUSP4, as ectopic restoration of DUSP4 attenuated ERBB signaling through potential modulation of the ERBB ligand, amphiregulin (AREG). Consistent with these data, immunohistochemical analysis of patient melanomas revealed a trend towards lower overall DUSP4 expression in pan-negative versus BRAF- and NRAS-mutant tumors. This study is the first to demonstrate that differential ERBB activity in pan-negative melanoma may modulate sensitivity to clinically-available MEK1/2 inhibitors and provides rationale for the use of ERBB inhibitors, potentially in combination with MEK1/2 inhibitors, in subsets of this disease.
Project description:Most melanomas harbor oncogenic BRAF(V600) mutations, which constitutively activate the MAPK pathway. Although MAPK pathway inhibitors show clinical benefit in BRAF(V600)-mutant melanoma, it remains incompletely understood why 10% to 20% of patients fail to respond. Here, we show that RAF inhibitor-sensitive and inhibitor-resistant BRAF(V600)-mutant melanomas display distinct transcriptional profiles. Whereas most drug-sensitive cell lines and patient biopsies showed high expression and activity of the melanocytic lineage transcription factor MITF, intrinsically resistant cell lines and biopsies displayed low MITF expression but higher levels of NF-?B signaling and the receptor tyrosine kinase AXL. In vitro, these MITF-low/NF-?B-high melanomas were resistant to inhibition of RAF and MEK, singly or in combination, and ERK. Moreover, in cell lines, NF-?B activation antagonized MITF expression and induced both resistance marker genes and drug resistance. Thus, distinct cell states characterized by MITF or NF-?B activity may influence intrinsic resistance to MAPK pathway inhibitors in BRAF(V600)-mutant melanoma.Although most BRAF(V600)-mutant melanomas are sensitive to RAF and/or MEK inhibitors, a subset fails to respond to such treatment. This study characterizes a transcriptional cell state distinction linked to MITF and NF-?B that may modulate intrinsic sensitivity of melanomas to MAPK pathway inhibitors.
Project description:In melanoma, dysregulation of the MAPK pathway, usually via BRAF(V600) or NRAS(Q61) somatic mutations, leads to constitutive ERK signaling. While BRAF inhibitors are initially effective for BRAF-mutant melanoma, no FDA-approved targeted therapies exist for BRAF-inhibitor-resistant BRAF(V600), NRAS mutant, or wild-type melanoma.The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of SCH772984, a novel inhibitor of ERK1/2, was determined in a panel of 50 melanoma cell lines. Effects on MAPK and AKT signaling by western blotting and cell cycle by flow cytometry were determined.Sensitivity fell into three groups: sensitive, 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) < 1 ?M; intermediately sensitive, IC50 1-2 ?M; and resistant, >2 ?M. Fifteen of 21 (71%) BRAF mutants, including 4 with innate vemurafenib resistance, were sensitive to SCH772984. All three (100%) BRAF/NRAS double mutants, 11 of 14 (78%) NRAS mutants and 5 of 7 (71%) wild-type melanomas were sensitive. Among BRAF(V600) mutants with in vitro acquired resistance to vemurafenib, those with MAPK pathway reactivation as the mechanism of resistance were sensitive to SCH772984. SCH772984 caused G1 arrest and induced apoptosis.Combining vemurafenib and SCH722984 in BRAF mutant melanoma was synergistic in a majority of cell lines and significantly delayed the onset of acquired resistance in long term in vitro assays. Therefore, SCH772984 may be clinically applicable as a treatment for non-BRAF mutant melanoma or in BRAF-mutant melanoma with innate or acquired resistance, alone or in combination with BRAF inhibitors.
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.