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We hypothesize that the heterogeneous outcomes of melanoma are genetically determined.
Sixty two melanoma-related genes have been categorized from the literature to compare
the functional genes between metastatic melanoma and their skin controls. Th e 62 gene
transcripts were tested against 20 frozen metastatic melanoma samples and their skin counterparts
with normalization to fi ve housekeeping genes, following approval by the institutional IRB.
RNA expression was quantifi ed directly from tissue homogenates by the QuantiGene? Plex
branched DNA assay. Seven genes demonstrating the most signifi cant diff erence in expression
diff erences (p-values 1.28E-09 -1.93E-06) between melanoma and normal skin when analyzed
by Cluster Analysis and Principal Component Analysis were studied using Formalin Fixed
Paraffi n Embedded (FFPE) tissues by the branched DNA in situ RNA expression technology
QuantiGene? ViewRNA. Of these 7 genes, 4 genes were upregulated in the melanoma metastases
versus normal skin tissues. Th ese 7 candidate genes gave signal diff erences both in intensity and/
or spatial recognition between melanoma and normal skin tissue microenvironments relating
to angiogenesis, immune response/infl ammation, DNA replication, cell proliferation/motility,
tissue invasion/progression, epidermis development, cell communication and morphogenesis.
We conclude that a novel set of melanoma-associated genes was found in this discovery phase.
Future studies may include in situ QuantiGene? ViewRNA assay from FFPE sections in a large
cohort of melanoma patients with detailed clinical outcomes to determine the signifi cance of
Dr. Stanley P.L. Leong received his MD and MS degrees from Tulane University. He completed a surgical
oncology fellowship at the NCI. He is currently Chief of Cutaneous Oncology, Associate Director of the Center
for Melanoma Research and Treatment at the California Pacifi c Medical Center and Senior Scientist at the
California Pacifi c Medical Center Research Institute as well as Professor Emeritus of Surgery at the University
of California, San Francisco. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles and 12 books and serving on
several editorial boards of repute. His research interests include cancer metastasis, sentinel node biology and
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