Objective: To study the clinical value of the determination of serum S-100 protein as a single tumor marker or in combination with tyrosinase RT-PCR in patients with melanoma receiving adjuvant interferon.
Patients and methods: Patients were tested for serum S-100 protein luminoimmunometric assay and for blood tyrosinase mRNA (RT-PCR), before starting interferon and every 2-3 months thereafter.
Results: One hundred and six patients (stage IIA, 27; IIB, 19; III, 49; and IV, 11) were included in the study. Median follow-up was 51 months (range 2-76). In the univariate analysis, under treatment S-100 > or =0.15 microg/l and a positive RT-PCR correlated with a lower disease-free survival and overall survival (OS). In the multivariate analysis, clinical stage, under therapy positive RT-PCR and S-100 levels > or =0.15 mug/ml, were independent prognostic factors for OS. The hazard ratio for OS was 3.9 (95% CI, 1.67-9.15; p = 0.004) and 2.2 (95% CI, 1.05-4.6; p = 0.016) for S-100 > or =0.15 microg/l and positive RT-PCR, respectively. When both techniques where combined, a positive RT-PCR indicated a poorer clinical outcome only in patients with S-100 <0.15 microg/l.
Conclusions: S-100 > or =0.15 microg/l and a positive RT-PCR during adjuvant interferon therapy indicate a high risk of death in resected melanoma patients. S-100 determination has a higher positive predictive value than RT-PCR, while tyrosinase RT-PCR adds prognostic information in patients with S-100 <0.15 microg/l.
(c) 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel