Malignant melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. There is a critical need to identify the patients that could be successfully treated by surgery alone and those that require adjuvant treatment. In this study, we demonstrate that the expression of tribbles2 (TRIB2) strongly correlates with both the presence and progression of melanocyte-derived malignancies. We examined the expression of TRIB2 in addition to 12 previously described melanoma biomarkers across three independent full genome microarray studies. TRIB2 expression was consistently and significantly increased in benign nevi and melanoma, and was highest in samples from patients with metastatic melanoma. The expression profiles for the 12 biomarkers were poorly conserved throughout these studies with only TYR, S100B and SPP1 showing consistently elevated expression in metastatic melanoma versus normal skin. Strikingly we confirmed these findings in 20 freshly obtained primary melanoma tissue samples from metastatic lesions where the expression of these biomarkers were evaluated revealing that TRIB2 expression correlated with disease stage and clinical prognosis. Our results suggest that TRIB2 is a meaningful biomarker reflecting diagnosis and progression of melanoma, as well as predicting clinical response to chemotherapy.
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