TERT promoter mutation is uncommon in acral lentiginous melanoma

J Cutan Pathol. 2014 Jun;41(6):504-8. doi: 10.1111/cup.12323. Epub 2014 Apr 2.


Background: Melanoma is a heterogeneous group of diseases with distinct sets of genetic changes. Recurrent and mutually exclusive C>T or CC>TT transition mutations were identified in the promoter region of the reverse transcriptase catalytic subunit of the telomerase gene (TERT) in melanoma recently, and it was suggested that they enhanced the expression of TERT gene and played important roles in the melanoma pathogenesis. These mono or di-nucleotide transitions were ultraviolet (UV)-signature mutations.

Methods: In this study, polymerase chain reaction and direct sequencing of TERT promoter using formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue was performed to investigate whether these UV-signature mutations were also present in acral lentiginous melanoma.

Results: TERT promoter mutation was identified in only 2 of the 32 cases (6%) of acral lentiginous melanomas while it was identified in 3 of the 9 cases (33%) of non-acral cutaneous melanomas. The difference was statistically significant (p = 0.028).

Conclusions: The rarity of TERT promoter mutation in the acral lentiginous melanoma was consistent with the supposed role of UV light in the melanoma pathogenesis and also corroborated the view that acral lentiginous melanomas have a different pathogenesis with the melanomas from sun-exposed sites.

Keywords: TERT; UV light; acral lentiginous melanoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Telomerase / genetics*


  • TERT protein, human
  • Telomerase