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PLoS One. 2011 Feb 28;6(2):e17578. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017578.

Cytoplasmic Skp2 expression is increased in human melanoma and correlated with patient survival.

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Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, Jack Bell Research Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



S-phase kinase protein 2 (Skp2), an F-box protein, targets cell cycle regulators via ubiquitin-mediated degradation. Skp2 is frequently overexpressed in a variety of cancers and associated with patient survival. In melanoma, however, the prognostic significance of subcellular Skp2 expression remains controversial.


To investigate the role of Skp2 in melanoma development, we constructed tissue microarrays and examined Skp2 expression in melanocytic lesions at different stages, including 30 normal nevi, 61 dysplastic nevi, 290 primary melanomas and 146 metastatic melanomas. The TMA was assessed for cytoplasmic and nuclear Skp2 expression by immunohistochemistry. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to evaluate the patient survival. The univariate and multivariate Cox regression models were performed to estimate the hazard ratios (HR) at five-year follow-up.


Cytoplasmic but not nuclear Skp2 expression was gradually increased from normal nevi, dysplastic nevi, primary melanomas to metastatic melanomas. Cytoplasmic Skp2 expression correlated with AJCC stages (I vs II-IV, P<0.001), tumor thickness (≤2.00 vs >2.00 mm, P<0.001) and ulceration (P = 0.005). Increased cytoplasmic Skp2 expression was associated with a poor five-year disease-specific survival of patients with primary melanoma (P = 0.018) but not metastatic melanoma (P>0.05).


This study demonstrates that cytoplasmic Skp2 plays an important role in melanoma pathogenesis and its expression correlates with patient survival. Our data indicate that cytoplasmic Skp2 may serve as a potential biomarker for melanoma progression and a therapeutic target for this disease.

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