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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Molecular and prognostic classification of advanced melanoma: a multi-marker microcontamination assay of peripheral blood stem cells.

The presence or absence of melanoma cells in human peripheral blood has recently been shown to be associated with disease prognosis, including overall survival. The detection of tyrosinase mRNA-positive circulating melanoma cells by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) has been limited to disseminated tumours expressing measurable amounts of this melanocyte-specific enzyme. To biologically classify both melanotic and amelanotic melanomas and to evaluate the clinical and prognostic relevance of tumour cell microcontamination, we examined autologous peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) harvests from patients with advanced malignant melanoma prior to dose-escalated chemotherapy. To assay heterogeneous melanoma cell antigen expression, we developed a highly sensitive RT-PCR using four melanoma- and one tumour-associated antigen as molecular markers. Expression of the melanocyte-associated transcripts of tyrosinase, MART1/Melan-A, tyrosinase-related protein-1 ( TRP-1) and tyrosinase-related protein-2 ( TRP-2) as well as the tumour-specific transcript of MAGE-3 was analysed by RT-PCR in PBSC harvests from 31 patients. Seven of the 31 PBSC harvests tested positive for one or more molecular markers: two patients for tyrosinase only, and one patient for MAGE-3 only, one patient for tyrosinase and MAGE-3, one for tyrosinase and MART1/Melan-A, and two patients for tyrosinase, MART1/Melan-A, TRP-2 and MAGE-3. mRNA-positive patients exhibited a significantly impaired overall survival (P = 0.0032), with a median survival of 3 months as opposed to 10 months in PBSC mRNA-negative patients. In conclusion, the use of this multiple-marker microcontamination assay allowed for molecular and prognostic classification of advanced malignant melanoma.[1]


  1. Molecular and prognostic classification of advanced melanoma: a multi-marker microcontamination assay of peripheral blood stem cells. Schrader, A.J., Probst-Kepper, M., Grosse, J., Kunter, U., Schenk, F., Franzke, A., Atzpodien, J., Buer, J. Melanoma Res. (2000) [Pubmed]
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