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Am J Dermatopathol. 1999 Apr;21(2):125-8.

Expression of the proliferation and apoptosis-associated CAS protein in benign and malignant cutaneous melanocytic lesions.

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Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland.


We have examined the expression of the cellular apoptosis susceptibility protein, a nuclear transport factor that plays a role in apoptosis and cell proliferation, in benign and malignant melanocytic lesions. Tissue samples of 55 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded melanoma (primary n=32, metastatic n=23) and of 27 control cases (junctional dermal, compound, Spitz, Reed, blue nevi, balloon-cell nevus, lentigo maligna) were analyzed by immunohistochemistry with anti-cellular apoptosis susceptibility antibodies. The percentage of cellular apoptosis susceptibility-positive cells as well as the intensity on a four-point scale was evaluated. In normal skin, expression of cellular apoptosis susceptibility was primarily found in the basal cell layer of the epidermis. Benign melanocytic lesions that stained positive for cellular apoptosis susceptibility (13 of 27) showed a homogeneously distributed staining pattern with a mean of 5+/-12% cellular apoptosis susceptibility positive cells. Five out of 7 lentigo maligna melanoma, 11 out of 12 superficial spreading melanoma and all acrolentiginous (n=7) and nodular (n=6) melanoma showed immunoreactivity of medium (++) to high ( ) intensity. Vertical growth phases of primary cutaneous melanoma stained stronger than horizontally growing cell clusters. All metastases (n= 23) stained strongly positive, the staining pattern being inhomogeneous. Cellular apoptosis susceptibility detection in clinical stages according to UICC showed an increase from 43+/-34% cellular apoptosis susceptibility positive cells in stage I, to 53+/-26% in stage II, 68+/-24% in stage III and 72+/-24% in stage IV, respectively. Because the expression of cellular apoptosis susceptibility correlates predominantly with advanced stages of melanoma, staining with anti-cellular apoptosis susceptibility antibodies may be useful for diagnosis of melanoma and possibly as an immunohistochemical prognostic factor in cutaneous melanocytic lesions.

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