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Clin Otolaryngol. 2018 Oct;43(5):1335-1344. doi: 10.1111/coa.13191. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Expression of 15-lipoxygenase-1 in Merkel cell carcinoma is linked to advanced disease.

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Department Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Surgery, Clinical Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Medical University of Vienna, Clinical Department of Pathology, Vienna, Austria.
Medical University of Vienna, Department of Dermatology, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether the expression of 15-lipoxygenase-1 (ALOX15) in primary tumour specimens predicts lymph node metastasis and subsequently clinical outcome in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) patients.


A retrospective medical chart review of 33 patients was performed between 1994 and 2014. Eleven out of 33 (33%) Patients with primary MCC stages I and II were categorised as group I. Twenty two out of 33 (67%) Patients with regional lymph node metastases and/or distant metastases were defined as group II. All available tumour samples were immunostained for ALOX15, Podoplanin and MCPyV large T-protein antibody.


ALOX15 expression was observed in 19/23 (83%) primary tumour samples and in all lymph node metastasis. Primary tumours in patients with stage III and IV disease showed a higher expression rate of ALOX15 compared to patients with early stage disease (11/12 (92%) and 8/11 (73%), respectively). In group I, five patients (45%) were MCPyV positive, whereas in group II, 15 patients (68%) were MCPyV positive. The median lymphatic vessel density in ALOX15 negative group I primary tumour samples was lower compared to the median lymphatic vessel density in ALOX15 positive group I primary tumour probes (2.7 range, 1-4.3 vs 4.7 range, 4.0-7.3). Furthermore, all 17 samples of MCC metastases showed ALOX15 expression with a median lymphatic vessel density (not lymph node metastases) of 5.3 (range 2.0-7.3).


In the current study, we were able to show ALOX15 expression in the primary MCC sample and the metastasis sample. Based on the findings of the current study, expression rate of ALOX15 in primary MCC and metastases is possibly linked to an increased lymphatic vessel density.


15-lipoxygenase-1; ALOX15; MCPyV large T antigen; Podoplanin; lymphatic vessel density

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