Introduction: the length of DNA repetitive sequences (microsatellite instability (MSI)) represent distinct tumorigenic pathways associated with several familial and sporadic tumors.
Material and methods: To investigate the prevalence and frequency of MSI in melanocytic lesions, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based microsatellite assay was used to examine formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues of 30 benign melanocytic nevi, 60 melanocytic dysplastic nevi (MDN), and 22 primary vertical growth phase cutaneous malignant melanomas (CMM). Twenty-four microsatellite markers at the 1p, 2p, 3p, 4q and 9p chromosomal regions were used.
Results: MSI was found at 1p and 9p in MDN and CMM but not in benign melanocytic nevi. The overall prevalence of MSI was 17/60 (28%) in MDN and 7/22 (31%) in CMM. The frequency of MSI ranged from 2/24 (9%) to 4/24 (17%) and was most commonly found at D9S162. There was a statistically significant correlation between degree of atypia and frequency of MSI (p<0.001) in MDN. There were two MSI banding patterns: band shifts and additional bands.
Conclusions: The data presented revealed the presence of low-frequency MSI (MSI-L) at the 1p and 9p regions in both MDN and CMM. Whether the MSI-L pattern reflects a defect in mismatch repair genes is still to be determined.