Expression of the cancer stem cell marker OCT4 is associated with worse prognosis and survival in cutaneous melanoma

Melanoma Res. 2021 Oct 1;31(5):439-448. doi: 10.1097/CMR.0000000000000767.


Cutaneous melanoma has an aggressive clinical presentation, showing rapid rate of growth and metastatic dissemination due to the permanence of cancer stem cells. The present study was to evaluate the expression of the self-renewal regulatory factor and the clinical significance of the transcription factor OCT4 in melanoma. Melanoma tissues were stained by immunohistochemistry and the correlation between the expression of this marker was determined through clinical-pathological variables and survival outcomes. Positive expression of nuclear and cytoplasmic OCT4 was observed in 49% and 41.2% of cases, respectively. The positive expression of nuclear OCT4 in melanoma was significantly associated with prognostic factors, such as Breslow depth, Clark's level, ulceration and metastasis. Survival of patients was 56% compared to positive nuclear OCT4 expression and 94.2% when compared to the low expression of the gene. Nuclear OCT4 positive genotype indicated aggressive tumor behavior with a worse clinical outcome, which indicates OCT4 as a useful biomarker in the prognosis of melanoma.