Background: We previously identified PRAME as a biomarker for metastatic risk in Class 1 uveal melanomas. In this study, we sought to define a threshold value for positive PRAME expression (PRAME+) in a large dataset, identify factors associated with PRAME expression, evaluate the prognostic value of PRAME in Class 2 uveal melanomas, and determine whether PRAME expression is associated with aberrant hypomethylation of the PRAME promoter.
Results: Among 678 samples analyzed by qPCR, 498 (73.5%) were PRAME- and 180 (26.5%) were PRAME+. Class 1 tumors were more likely to be PRAME-, whereas Class 2 tumors were more likely to be PRAME+ (P < 0.0001). PRAME expression was associated with shorter time to metastasis and melanoma specific mortality in Class 2 tumors (P = 0.01 and P = 0.02, respectively). In Class 1 tumors, PRAME expression was directly associated with SF3B1 mutations (P < 0.0001) and inversely associated with EIF1AX mutations (P = 0.004). PRAME expression was strongly associated with hypomethylation at 12 CpG sites near the PRAME promoter.
Materials and methods: Analyses included PRAME mRNA expression, Class 1 versus Class 2 status, chromosomal copy number, mutation status of BAP1, EIF1AX, GNA11, GNAQ and SF3B1, and genomic DNA methylation status. Analyses were performed on 555 de-identified samples from Castle Biosciences, 123 samples from our center, and 80 samples from the TCGA.
Conclusions: PRAME is aberrantly hypomethylated and activated in Class 1 and Class 2 uveal melanomas and is associated with increased metastatic risk in both classes. Since PRAME has been successfully targeted for immunotherapy, it may prove to be a companion prognostic biomarker.
Keywords: DNA methylation; PRAME; chromosomal instability; preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma; uveal melanoma.