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J Cutan Pathol. 2010 Mar;37(3):344-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0560.2009.01433.x. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

Oncogenic BRAF and the tumor suppressor IGFBP7 in the genesis of atypical spitzoid nevomelanocytic proliferations.

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Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.


Rare reports indicate that the frequency of BRAFV600E mutations is high in atypical Spitz nevi. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the utility of the RAF/RAS mutational status as a diagnostic adjunct in lesions with histologic features that deviate from a typical Spitz nevus and, to examine expression of Insulin growth factor binding protein 7 (IGFBP7), a tumor suppressor acting through autocrine/paracrine pathways to inhibit BRAF-MEK-ERK signaling, in the same. Genomic DNA for genotyping was isolated from 6 regular Spitz nevi and 14 atypical spitzoid nevomelanocytic proliferations (including 1 melanoma with spitzoid histomorphology). NRAS1, NRAS2 and KRAS were analyzed, in addition to BRAFV600E. A mutation in BRAFV600E was noted in only one case-that of a regular Spitz nevus. IGFBP7 expression appeared to be maintained in this case, but was absent in 7/17 cases, which included 5 atypical spitzoid nevomelanocytic proliferations. Lack of expression of IGFBP7 in atypical spitzoid nevomelanocytic proliferations with histologically concerning features but BRAF-WT indicates that the evolutionary path in atypical spitzoid nevomelanocytic proliferations is genetically distinct from that of IGFBP7-negative BRAF-positive melanoma. From an oncogenic BRAF perspective, our findings suggest that the majority of 'atypical' spitzoid nevomelanocytic proliferations are probably no different from conventional Spitz nevi.

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