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Br J Dermatol. 2011 Sep;165(3):506-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10409.x. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

Expression of milk fat globule epidermal growth factor-VIII may be an indicator of poor prognosis in malignant melanoma.

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Department of Dermatology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.



Milk fat globule epidermal growth factor-VIII (MFG-E8) is a secreted protein that binds phosphatidylserine and promotes apoptotic cell ingestion by phagocytes, mediating the immune tolerance and maintenance of homeostasis. A recent study has shown that MFG-E8 expression in human melanoma is increased with tumour progression; however, the effect of its expression on patient survival has not yet been clarified.


To analyse MFG-E8 expression in melanoma, and to determine whether it can serve as a marker for diagnosis, tumour progression and/or prognosis.


MFG-E8 expression was examined by immunohistochemistry in 60 primary melanomas, 22 metastatic lesions and 30 benign naevi. The following clinicopathological variables were evaluated: age, gender, histological type, tumour site, Breslow thickness, Clark's level, the presence or absence of ulceration and tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes, and survival periods. Statistical analyses were performed to assess associations and melanoma-specific survival.


MFG-E8 expression was significantly higher in primary and metastatic melanoma than in naevus. Furthermore, it increased according to tumour progression and metastasis. Patients with MFG-E8 expression in primary tumours had significantly shorter survival periods than those without MFG-E8 expression. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that MFG-E8 expression was a statistically significant and independent prognostic factor.


MFG-E8 expression may serve as a tumour progression marker and can predict an unfavourable prognosis in patients with melanoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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