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Loss of heterozygosity and microsatellite instability in acquired melanocytic nevi: towards a molecular definition of the dysplastic nevus.

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Hautklinik Universitätsklinikum der RWTH Aachen, Germany.


Acquired melanocytic nevi may show signs of histological dysplasia, and epidemiological studies have demonstrated that dysplastic melanocytic nevi (DMN) are associated with an elevated melanoma risk. Nevertheless, the concept of DMN as precursors of melanoma has remained a concept, in view of the difficulty of establishing unambiguous cytological and histological criteria for DMN. Recent molecular data suggest that genetic instability is more frequent in DMN than in benign acquired melanocytic nevi. We have analyzed 54 benign melanocytic nevi and 6 DMN for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at microsatellite markers D9S171, IFNA, D9S270, D9S265. LOH at one or more loci was detected in 17 out of 54 benign nevi and in 4 out of 6 DMN. LOH was demonstrated at 26 out of 103 amplified and informative microsatellites in benign nevi and at 6 out of 11 microsatellites in DMN. In addition, 6 benign nevi and 6 DMN were microdissected in 4-15 regions per lesion and analyzed for LOH and microsatellite instability (MSI) at D9S162 and D14S53. Both LOH and MSI were detected more frequently in dysplastic nevi (LOH frequency 0.61 vs 0.18; MSI frequency 0.27 vs 0.05). These results confirm that genetic instability is more prevalent in DMN than in benign acquired melanocytic nevi. Therefore, DMN might be defined as a monoclonal and genetically unstable, but limited, melanocytic proliferation that distinguishes this entity from the benign nevus and from malignant melanoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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