PNL2 melanocytic marker in immunohistochemical evaluation of primary mucosal melanoma of the head and neck

Head Neck. 2008 Jun;30(6):771-5. doi: 10.1002/hed.20785.


Background: Histologic diagnosis of mucosal melanoma of the head and neck is difficult, requiring immunohistochemical stains which are less reliable than in cutaneous lesions. PNL-2 is a novel marker that has not been examined in mucosal melanoma.

Methods: Nine formalin-fixed tissue sections of mucosal melanoma were stained with PNL-2, human melanoma black (HMB)-45, Melan-A, S-100, and microphthalmia transcription factor (MITF).

Results: Disease in all 9 patients arose from the sinonasal mucosa. Rates of diffuse positive staining with the 4 stains were PNL-2 (77.8%), HMB-45 (77.8%), Melan-A (50%), S-100 (87.5%), and MITF (40%). In 3 patients, PNL2 staining was superior to Melan-A or MITF.

Conclusion: We report the first characterization of PNL-2 staining in head and neck mucosal melanoma. PNL-2 demonstrates high sensitivity for mucosal melanoma, likely superior to Melan-A and MITF, and comparable to HMB-45, with specificity superior to S-100. We advocate inclusion of PNL2 as an important adjunctive marker in the evaluation of these lesions.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism*
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Melanoma / immunology
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nose Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Nose Neoplasms / immunology
  • Nose Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor