Expression of insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 2 in melanocytic lesions

J Cutan Pathol. 2003 Nov;30(10):599-605. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0560.2003.00120.x.


Background: Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is one of the most critical proteins required for the survival, migration, and growth of melanoma cells. IGF-binding protein 2 (IGFBP2), which binds and regulates the function of IGF-1, is upregulated in a dose-dependent manner in melanoma cells treated with IGF-1, suggesting a possible role of IGFBP2 in the pathogenesis of melanoma.

Methods: Tissue microarrays were constructed using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded archival tissue blocks from 94 melanocytic lesions: 20 benign nevi, 20 dysplastic nevi, 23 primary melanomas, and 31 metastatic melanomas. IGFBP2 expression was evaluated immunohistochemically using a polyclonal antibody against the C-terminus of IGFBP2. The number of cells and labeling intensity were assessed semiquantitatively.

Results: Positive IGFBP2 labeling was observed in 5.0% of benign nevi, which was significantly lower than in dysplastic nevi (35.0%), primary melanomas (52.2%), or metastatic melanomas (54.8%) (p < 0.05). Among the IGFBP2-positive cases, moderate-to-strong immunostaining was observed in 64.7% of metastatic melanomas and 33.3% of primary melanomas. But none of the dysplastic nevi had moderate-to-strong immunostaining (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Our study shows that IGFBP2 expression increases from benign and dysplastic nevi to primary and metastatic melanomas and suggests that it may play a role in melanoma progression.

MeSH terms

  • Dysplastic Nevus Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 2 / metabolism*
  • Melanocytes / pathology
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / secondary*
  • Nevus, Pigmented / metabolism*
  • Nevus, Pigmented / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 2