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Am J Surg Pathol. 2007 Nov;31(11):1764-75.

Loss of expression of protein kinase a regulatory subunit 1alpha in pigmented epithelioid melanocytoma but not in melanoma or other melanocytic lesions.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. dr.zembowicz@DermatopathologyConsultations.com

Abstract

Pigmented epithelioid melanocytoma (PEM) is a recently described entity comprising most cases previously described as "animal-type melanoma" and epithelioid blue nevus (EBN) occurring in patients with the multiple neoplasia syndrome Carney complex (CNC). Mutations of the protein kinase A regulatory subunit type 1alpha (R1alpha) (coded by the PRKAR1A gene) are found in more than half of CNC patients. In this study, we investigated whether PEM and EBN are related at the molecular level, and whether changes in the PRKAR1A gene status and the expression of the R1alpha protein may be involved in the pathogenesis of PEM and other melanocytic lesions. Histologic analysis of hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections and immunohistochemistry (IHC) with R1alpha antibody were performed on 34 sporadic PEMs, 8 CNC-associated PEMs from patients with known PRKAR1A mutations, 297 benign and malignant melanocytic tumors (127 conventional sections of 10 compound nevi, 10 Spitz nevi, 5 deep-penetrating nevi, 5 blue nevi, 6 cellular blue nevi, 2 malignant blue nevi, 3 lentigo maligna, and 86 melanomas of various types); in addition, 170 tissue microarray sections consisting of 35 benign nevi, 60 primary melanomas, and 75 metastatic melanomas, and 5 equine dermal melanomas, were examined. Histologic diagnoses were based on preexisting pathologic reports and were confirmed for this study. DNA studies [loss of heterozygosity (LOH) for the 17q22-24 locus and the PRKAR1A gene sequencing] were performed on 60 melanomas and 7 PEMs. IHC showed that R1alpha was expressed in all but one core from tissue microarrays (169/170), and in all 127 melanocytic lesions evaluated in conventional sections. By contrast, R1alpha was not expressed in the 8 EBN from patients with CNC and PRKAR1A mutations. Expression of R1alpha was lost in 28 of 34 PEMs (82%). R1alpha was expressed in the 5 equine melanomas studied. DNA studies correlated with IHC findings: there were no PRKAR1A mutations in any of the melanomas studied and the rate of LOH for 17q22-24 was less than 7%; 5 of the 7 PEMs showed extensive 17q22-24 LOH but no PRKAR1A mutations. The results support the concept that PEM is a distinct melanocytic tumor occurring in a sporadic setting and in the context of CNC. They also suggest that PEM differs from melanomas in equine melanotic disease, further arguing that the term animal-type melanoma may be a misnomer for this group of lesions. Loss of expression of R1alpha offers a useful diagnostic test that helps to distinguish PEM from lesions that mimic it histologically.

PMID:
18059235
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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