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Br J Dermatol. 2001 Aug;145(2):210-6.

Loss of beta-catenin expression associated with disease progression in malignant melanoma.

Author information

1
Department of Dermatology, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, 1-1 Honjo, Kumamoto 860-0811, Japan. toshiro@kaiju.medic.kumamoto-u.ac.jp

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

beta-catenin plays a crucial role in the function of cell adhesion molecules and also participates in growth regulatory signalling pathways that may be involved in malignant transformation.

OBJECTIVES:

To examine beta-catenin expression in lesions of melanocytic origin for associations with clinicopathological markers of disease progression and for its significance as a predictor of disease recurrence and prognosis.

METHODS:

beta-catenin expression was examined by immunoperoxidase staining in 50 melanocytic naevi and 91 primary and 50 metastatic melanomas.

RESULTS:

beta-catenin was expressed in 96% of melanocytic naevi, in 94% and 65%, respectively, of radial and vertical growth phase primary melanomas, and in 38% of metastatic melanomas. Benign and malignant melanocytic lesions had distinct patterns of beta-catenin localization. Most lesions expressing beta-catenin exhibited cytoplasmic staining; however, over 40% of benign lesions also displayed nuclear staining, which was present only in 10% of primary and 15% of metastatic melanomas. Absent or weak expression of beta-catenin in primary melanomas was associated with several markers of disease progression, including tumour thickness and presence of lymph node metastases. A similar but not statistically significant trend was observed for the association of beta-catenin expression with disease recurrence and prognosis.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that loss or downregulation of beta-catenin expression in melanoma cells plays a significant role in progression of the disease.

PMID:
11531781
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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