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Cancer Res. 2001 Oct 15;61(20):7642-6.

HDM2 protein overexpression, but not gene amplification, is related to tumorigenesis of cutaneous melanoma.

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Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University School of Medicine/Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New York, New York 10016, USA.


We investigated the role of alterations of HDM2, the human homologue of murine mdm2, in the tumorigenesis and progression of cutaneous melanoma. A well-characterized cohort of 172 cases representing different points in the spectrum of melanocyte transformation (16 dysplastic nevi, 11 melanomas in situ, 107 invasive primaries, and 38 metastatic lesions), as well as 11 human melanoma cell lines were examined by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting for HDM2 protein expression, and by either Southern blotting (SB) or fluorescence in situ hybridization for HDM2 gene amplification. HDM2 overexpression, defined as >20% tumor cells showing nuclear immunoreactivity, was observed in 1 of 16 (6%) dysplastic nevi, 3 of 11 (27%) melanomas in situ, and 81 of 145 (56%) invasive primary and metastatic melanomas. Comparable frequencies of HDM2 overexpression were observed among invasive primary cases with differing tumor thicknesses as well as among the metastatic cases: 21 of 40 (53%) at < or =1.5 mm; 31 of 50 (62%) at 1.6-3.9 mm; 10 of 17 (58%) at >4 mm; and 19 of 38 (50%) metastases. HDM2 amplification was observed in 1 of 88 (1%) primary cases using fluorescence in situ hybridization, and in 0 of 12 (0%) metastatic cases that overexpressed HDM2 using SB. Melanoma cell lines expressed HDM2 protein, but there was no evidence of amplification by SB. Our data suggest that HDM2 protein overexpression is common in invasive and metastatic melanoma. Observing HDM2 overexpression in noninvasive melanoma suggests that expression of this oncogene may play an early role in melanocyte transformation. HDM2 amplification occurs infrequently, and other mechanisms that up-regulate HDM2 expression are under investigation.

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