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Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis
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Research Article

MITF Expression in Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma

Margrét Agnarsdóttir1*, Fredrik Ponten1, Hans Garmo2,3, Gunnar Wagenius4, Lorelei Mucci5, Kristina Magnusson1, Lars Holmberg2,3 and Sonja Eaker-Fält3

1Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, SE-75185 Uppsala, Sweden

2King’s College London, Medical School, Division of Cancer Studies, SE1 9RT London, UK

3Regional Cancer Centre, Uppsala University Hospital, SE-75185 Uppsala, Sweden

4Section of Oncology, Department of Oncology and Radiology, Uppsala University, SE-75185 Uppsala, Sweden

5Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Margrét Agnarsdóttir
Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology
Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, SE-75185 Uppsala, Sweden
Tel: +46 18 6113934
Fax: +46 18 553354
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: May 30, 2012; Accepted date: July 12, 2012; Published date: July 17, 2012

Citation: Agnarsdóttir M, Ponten F, Garmo H, Wagenius G, Mucci L, et al. (2012) MITF Expression in Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma. J Mol Biomark Diagn 3:129. doi:10.4172/2155-9929.1000129

Copyright: © 2012 Agnarsdóttir M, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


The MITF protein has a central role in the differentiation and survival of melanocytes. The aim of the study was to investigate whether MITF can be employed as a prognostic marker in patients operated on for cutaneous malignant melanoma. A cohort study design, based on information collected from population-based registries, was employed. For included patients (n=264) tissue microarrays were stained with immunohistochemistry to study the protein expression of MITF in primary malignant melanoma tumors by estimating the fraction of positive tumor cells and the staining intensity. Most of the tumors (84%) expressed MITF in >25% of the tumor cells and for 87% of the tumors the staining intensity was strong. Tumors with cell fraction >75% had a better prognosis compared with those with <75% (HR 0.44, 95% CI: 0.20-1.0, P=0.05). Tumors with a strong staining intensity tended to have a better prognosis compared with the weaker staining ones (HR 0.59, 95% CI: 0.26 -1.36, P=0.22). When cell fraction and intensity were combined, a high-risk group dying of malignant melanoma was identified as those patients with 25- 75% of tumor cells staining with weak intensity (HR 2.9, 95% CI: 0.94-8.7, P=0.06) and those with <25% of tumor cells staining with strong intensity (HR 2.5, 95% CI: 1.1- 6.1, P=0.04). However, the majority of deaths occurred in the lower risk groups. In conclusion, a high-risk group for death in malignant melanoma was identified but MITF is not suitable as a prognostic marker due to the distribution of that particular expression in the population.


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