Parkinson's disease-related protein, alpha-synuclein, in malignant melanoma

PLoS One. 2010 May 5;5(5):e10481. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010481.

Abstract

Background: Melanoma is the major cause of skin cancer death worldwide. Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that is caused by mutation of alpha-synuclein or other genes. Importantly, epidemiological studies have reported co-occurrence of melanoma and Parkinson's disease, suggesting that these two diseases could share common genetic components.

Methodology/principal findings: Recently, we found that human melanoma cell lines highly express alpha-synuclein, whereas the protein is undetectable in the non-melanoma cancer cell lines tested. To investigate the expression of alpha-synuclein in human melanoma tissues, we immunostained sections of melanoma, nevus, non-melanocytic cutaneous carcinoma, and normal skin. alpha-Synuclein was positively detected in 86% of the primary and 85% of the metastatic melanoma sections, as well as in 89% of nevus sections. However, alpha-synuclein was undetectable in non-melanocytic cutaneous carcinoma and normal skin.

Conclusions/significance: The Parkinson's disease-related protein, alpha-synuclein, is expressed in both malignant and benign melanocytic lesions, such as melanomas and nevi. Although alpha-synuclein cannot be used to distinguish between malignant and benign melanocytic skin lesions, it might be a useful biomarker for the diagnosis of metastatic melanoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MART-1 Antigen
  • Male
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Nevus / metabolism
  • Nevus / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Pigmentation
  • Retinoblastoma / metabolism
  • Retinoblastoma / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism*

Substances

  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MART-1 Antigen
  • MLANA protein, human
  • Melanins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • alpha-Synuclein