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Oncol Rep. 2002 Sep-Oct;9(5):1015-9.

Immunohistochemical analysis of DNA mismatch repair protein and O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase in melanoma metastases in relation to clinical response to DTIC-based chemotherapy.

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Department of Oncology/Pathology, Research Laboratory of Radiumhemmet, Cancer Centre Karolinska, Karolinska Hospital, S-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.


DNA mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency and increased O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) activity have been related to resistance to O6-guanine methylating agents in tumour cell lines. However, the clinical relevance of MMR and MGMT as drug resistance factors is still unclear. In a retrospective study, the expression levels of the MMR proteins, hMSH2, hMSH6 and hMLH1, were analysed by immunohistochemistry in melanoma metastases from 64 patients, who had received dacarbazine (DTIC) based chemotherapy. More than half of the melanoma patients had tumours with no nuclear staining for either hMSH2 or hMSH6 or both, while all tumours showed positive nuclear staining for hMLH1. The response rates were similar in patients with hMSH2 and/or hMSH6 positive tumours to these in patients with negative tumours. By combination of MMR with previously obtained MGMT data, only 2 of 12 responders had tumours with low MGMT and positive MMR expression. Still all except 3 of the non-responders were identified by having either high MGMT expression or absent staining for hMSH2 or hMSH6 or both in their tumours. However, there was no significant correlation of MMR expression alone or combined with MGMT levels with clinical response to DTIC-based chemotherapy in metastatic melanoma.

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