Deregulation of the Rb and p53 pathways in uveal melanoma

Am J Pathol. 2000 Dec;157(6):1795-801. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9440(10)64817-1.


Uveal melanoma is the most common primary eye cancer, yet its molecular pathogenesis is poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the immunohistochemical expression of proteins in the Rb and p53 tumor suppressor pathways in 33 uveal melanomas from enucleated eyes. Strong nuclear staining for Rb was present in most tumors. However, a few cases displayed weak nuclear staining and strong cytoplasmic staining (possibly indicating Rb mutation), and this aberrant staining correlated strongly with failed radiotherapy or thermotherapy before enucleation. Staining for cyclin D1 was positive in most tumors and was associated with advanced age and larger tumor size, which are both poor prognostic factors. Generally, immunostaining for p53 was weak (suggesting a lack of p53 mutations), although p53 positivity correlated strongly with staining for phosphorylated Rb, supporting the notion that inappropriate phosphorylation of Rb can induce p53. Strong immunostaining for MDM2, which can functionally block p53 activity, was observed in most tumors and correlated significantly with female sex. Strong cytoplasmic staining was observed for Bcl2, which can inhibit both p53-dependent and -independent apoptosis. We conclude that Rb and p53 are mutated infrequently in uveal melanoma, but their respective pathways may be functionally inactivated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / metabolism*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*
  • Uveal Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Cyclin D1
  • MDM2 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2