PRAME Expression in Mucosal Melanoma of the Head and Neck Region

Am J Surg Pathol. 2023 May 1;47(5):599-610. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000002032. Epub 2023 Mar 13.


PRAME (PReferentially expressed Antigen in MElanoma), a cancer-testis antigen expressed in normal and neoplastic tissues with several functions, proved to be a useful diagnostic tool in the differential diagnosis between benign and malignant melanocytic lesions. The current study aims to perform PRAME stain on a retrospective case series of mucosal melanocytic tumors of the head and neck region to compare 3 different scores and evaluate the most reliable one in this diagnostic set. Immunohistochemical analysis for PRAME was performed in 54 benign and malignant mucosal melanocytic tumors of the head and neck region collected from 41 patients. The best-performing cutoff of PRAME-positive cells (nuclear stain) to differentiate benign and malignant mucosal melanocytic tumors of the head and neck region is that proposed by Raghavan and colleagues (<60%/≥60% of PRAME-positive cells), with 100% and 77.8% of benign lesions and malignant tumors respectively correctly identified. Applying this score, PRAME stain showed the best results (sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and positive and negative predictive values) for the diagnosis of head and neck melanocytic tumors. However, a subset of PRAME-negative malignant tumors was identified, especially located in the palatal area (hard and soft palate). Finally, high PRAME expression (≥60%) was associated with specific sites (nasal cavity/nasal septum/turbinates nasopharynx, and the maxillary sinus), nodular histotype, and female sex.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma* / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Transcription Factors


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Transcription Factors
  • PRAME protein, human