Activating BRAF and N-Ras mutations in sporadic primary melanomas: an inverse association with allelic loss on chromosome 9

Oncogene. 2003 Dec 18;22(58):9217-24. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1206909.


We searched and report mutations in the BRAF and N-ras genes in 22 out of 35 (63 percent) primary sporadic melanomas. In three melanomas, mutations were concomitantly present in both genes. In all, 10 out of 12 mutations in the BRAF gene involved the 'hot spot' codon 600 (In all communications on mutations in the BRAF gene, the nucleotide and codon numbers have been based on the NCBI gene bank nucleotide sequence NM_004333. However, according to NCBI gene bank sequence with accession number NT_007914, there is a discrepancy of one codon (three nucleotides) in exon 1 in the sequence with accession number NM_004333. The sequence analysis of exon 1 of the BRAF gene in our laboratory has shown that the sequence derived from NT_007914 is correct (Kumar et al., 2003). Due to the correctness of the latter, sequence numbering of codons and nucleotides after exon 1 are changed by +1 and +3, respectively.), one tandem CT1789-90TC base change represented a novel mutation and another mutation caused a G466R amino-acid change within the glycine-rich loop in the kinase domain. Mutations in the N-ras gene in 11 melanomas were at codon 61 whereas two melanomas carried mutations in codon 12 including a tandem mutation GG>AA. We observed an inverse association between BRAF/N-ras mutations and the frequency of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on chromosome 9 at 10 different loci. Melanomas with BRAF/N-ras mutations showed a statistically significant decreased frequency of LOH on chromosome 9 compared with cases without mutations (mean fractional allelic loss (FAL)=0.29+/-0.23 vs 0.72+/-0.33; t-test, P=0.0001). Difference in the FAL value between tumours with and without BRAF/N-ras mutations on 33 loci on five other chromosomes was not statistically significant (mean FAL 0.17+/-0.19 vs 0.25+/-0.22; t-test, P=0.24). Melanoma cases with BRAF/N-ras mutations were also associated with lower age at diagnosis than cases without mutations (mean age 80.38+/-7.24 vs 65.77+/-19.79 years; t-test, P=0.02). Our data suggest that the occurrence of BRAF/N-ras mutations compensate the requirement for the allelic loss at chromosome 9, which is one of the key events in melanoma.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 9*
  • Codon
  • Exons
  • Genes, ras / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*


  • Codon