Use of oncogene expression as an independent prognostic marker for primary melanoma

Ann Plast Surg. 2003 Feb;50(2):183-7. doi: 10.1097/01.SAP.0000032308.89737.EA.


For 25 years, the Breslow depth of primary tumors has remained the most accurate prognostic test of survival for primary melanoma. However a number of studies have indicated that outcome for intermediate-thickness melanomas (0.75-2.49 mm) is often at variance with that predicted by the Breslow depth. This study investigated c-myc oncogene expression in 92 primary tumors of intermediate thickness using flow cytometry. Oncoprotein expression was detected in 87 tumors (95%) with a median positivity of 48% (range, 0%-96%). Survival analysis performed using the Kaplan-Meier method revealed a significant association between oncoprotein positivity and clinical outcome (p < 0.01, log-rank test). Multifactorial analysis of survival using Cox's proportional hazards model revealed c-myc oncoprotein to be an independent prognostic marker more accurate than all other clinicopathological parameters including the Breslow depth (chi(2) = 9.68, p< 0.01). Estimation of c-myc oncoprotein is therefore recommended as a powerful prognostic marker for intermediate-thickness primary melanoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Genes, myc*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / mortality*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate


  • Biomarkers, Tumor