Regulation of particular genes during the formation of neural crest (NC) cells is also described during progression of malignant melanoma. In this context, it is of paramount importance to develop neural crest models allowing the identification of candidate genes, which could be used as biomarkers for melanoma prognosis. Here, we used a human induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC)-based approach to present novel NC-associated genes, expression of which was upregulated in melanoma. A list of 8 candidate genes, based on highest upregulation, was tested for prognostic value in a tissue microarray analysis containing samples from advanced melanoma (good versus bad prognosis) as well as from high-risk primary melanomas (early metastasizing versus non or late-metastasizing). CD271, GLDC, and ERRFI1 showed significantly higher expression in metastatic patients who died early than the ones who survived at least 30 months. In addition, GLDC and TWIST showed a significantly higher immunohistochemistry (IHC) score in primary melanomas from patients who developed metastases within 12 months versus those who did not develop metastases in 30 months. In conclusion, our iPSC-based study reveals a significant association of NC marker GLDC protein expression with melanoma prognosis.
Keywords: marker; melanoma; neural crest cells; prognosis.