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J Invest Dermatol. 2004 Feb;122(2):337-41.

Genetic interaction between NRAS and BRAF mutations and PTEN/MMAC1 inactivation in melanoma.

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Wellman Laboratories, Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital Melanoma Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Extant evidence implicates growth factor signaling in the pathogenesis of many tumor types, including cutaneous melanoma. Recently, reciprocal activating mutations of NRAS and BRAF were found in benign melanocytic nevi and cutaneous melanomas. We had previously reported a similar epistatic relationship between activating NRAS mutations and inactivating PTEN/MMAC1 alterations. We thus hypothesized that BRAF and PTEN/MMAC1 mutations may cooperate to promote melanoma tumorigenesis. Overall, 40 of 47 (85%) melanoma cell lines and 11 of 16 (69%) uncultured melanoma metastases had mutations in NRAS, BRAF, or PTEN/MMAC1. NRAS was exclusively mutated in nine of 47 (19%) cell lines and two of 16 (13%) metastases, whereas BRAF was solely mutated in 28 of 47 (60%) cell lines and nine of 16 (56%) metastases. In the 12 of 15 melanoma cell lines (80%) and two of two melanoma metastases with PTEN alterations, BRAF was also mutated. These findings suggest the existence of possible cooperation between BRAF activation and PTEN loss in melanoma development.

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