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J Cutan Pathol. 2007 Jan;34(1):7-14.

Protein expression of melanocyte growth factors (bFGF, SCF) and their receptors (FGFR-1, c-kit) in nevi and melanoma.

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Department of Dermatology, Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany.



Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and stem cell factor (SCF) are essential growth factors for melanocytes which carry the receptors FGFR-1 for bFGF and c-kit for SCF. Because both factors may be involved in melanoma development, the expression of bFGF/FGFR-1 and SCF/c-kit was investigated in melanocytic tumors of different progression stages.


Fifty primary melanomas and 44 melanocytic nevi were analyzed for the expression of SCF, c-kit, bFGF, and FGFR-1 by immunohistochemistry.


In melanoma, SCF and c-kit were expressed in 76 and 84%, respectively, and coexpressed in 66%. bFGF and FGFR-1 were expressed in 45 and 86%, respectively, and coexpressed in 46%. In melanocytic nevi, SCF was expressed in 23% and c-kit in 70% while coexpression was more common in dysplastic (39%) than non-dysplastic subtypes (8%). bFGF and FGFR-1 were expressed in 55 and 67%, respectively, while coexpression was found in 47% but varied considerably between different histological subtypes.


SCF and c-kit were frequently expressed by melanomas and dysplastic nevi suggesting an autocrine growth mechanism as described for bFGF. In both nevi and melanoma, c-kit was almost exclusively found in the epidermis while bFGF was more common in the dermis. Thus the growth factor/receptor expression seems to depend on the cutaneous localization of the melanocytic tumors.

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