Background: Primary sinonasal mucosal melanomas are aggressive tumors with a poor clinical control by current treatments, raising the urgent need of novel strategies.
Methods: By fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), direct sequencing, and immunohistochemistry, we investigate the spectrum of molecular abnormalities in a cohort of 32 cases of primary sinonasal mucosal melanomas.
Results: We found that all primary sinonasal mucosal melanomas lack BRAF V600E mutation; in addition, they are characterized by somatic mutations of NRAS (22%) and KIT (12.5%), together with amplification of RREB1 (100%) and loss of MYB (76%). The large majority of cases showed KIT protein expression (96.9%). Among tumor suppressor genes, primary sinonasal mucosal melanomas showed loss of PTEN (48.1%) and p16/INK4a (55.2%). All tested cases showed expression of pAkt and pErk, suggesting a combined activation of PI3K/Akt and RAS-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways.
Conclusions: This molecular fingerprint strongly argues against the clinical efficacy of BRAF-inhibitors, but could candidate primary sinonasal mucosal melanomas to therapeutic strategies targeting RAS and KIT mutations or inhibiting PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway.
Keywords: KIT; NRAS; PI3K/Akt pathway; RAS-MAPK pathway; sinonasal melanoma.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.