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

Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor gene amplification in metastatic melanoma is a prognostic marker for patient survival, but not a predictive marker for chemosensitivity and chemotherapy response.

PURPOSE: The microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is regarded as a key oncogene of the melanocytic lineage since it was detected by a genome-wide analysis to be strongly amplified in 15% to 20% of metastatic melanomas. MITF gene amplification was shown to be associated with a reduced survival in metastatic melanoma patients, and reduction of MITF activity was shown to sensitize melanoma cell lines to chemotherapeutics, suggesting the intratumoral MITF gene copy number as a predictive biomarker of response and survival after chemotherapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: To validate this hypothesis, we investigated MITF gene amplification in tumor tissues obtained from 116 metastatic melanoma patients before an individualized sensitivity-directed chemotherapy using quantitative real-time PCR. MITF amplification rates were correlated with tumor chemosensitivity quantified by an ATP-based luminescence assay and with chemotherapy outcome in terms of response and survival. RESULTS: Of 116 tumor tissues, 104 were evaluable for MITF gene amplification. Strong amplification (> or =4 copies per cell) was detected in 24 of 104 tissues (23%), whereas 62 of 104 tissues (60%) harbored >3 copies per cell. Strong MITF gene amplification was associated with a reduced disease-specific survival (P = 0.031). However, no correlation was found between MITF copy number and in vitro chemosensitivity or in vivo chemotherapy response. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that strong amplifications of the melanoma oncogene MITF affects patient survival but does not influence tumor chemosensitivity and chemotherapy response. Thus, the MITF gene copy number seems a useful prognostic marker in metastatic melanoma but could not be confirmed as a predictive marker of chemosensitivity and chemotherapy response.[1]


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