BRAF(V600E) mutations are frequent in melanomas originating from intermittently sun-exposed skin and also in common acquired melanocytic nevi, suggesting that BRAF mutation is an early event in melanocytic neoplasia. All neoplastic melanocytes within such a nevus would be expected to carry the BRAF mutation, and thus we evaluated the frequency of cells with BRAF(V600E) mutations within acquired nevi by droplet digital polymerase chain reaction. In BRAF-mutant nevi the number of BRAF mutant alleles equaled the number of wild-type (WT) alleles in the neoplastic cell population, consistent with a fully clonal heterozygous BRAF mutation. The allelic ratio of BRAF(V600E) to BRAF(WT) in the eight VE1-positive nevi, adjusted for degree of stromal contamination, ranged from 0.84 to 1.12 with an average ratio of 1.01. This was confirmed by immunohistochemistry with an antibody specific for BRAF(V600E), which uniformly labeled the neoplastic cells without any evidence of heterogeneity. We found BRAF(V600E) mutations in the melanocytic nevi to be fully clonal, strongly suggesting that BRAF-activating mutations typically are early initiating events in melanocytic neoplasia.
"Mutations in B-RAF or N-RAS are found in the majority of melanomas, and are often identified in benign nevi as well [5,6]. Activating mutations in B-RAF and N-RAS occur in 40-60% and 15-25% of melanomas, respectively. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gain of function mutations in B-RAF and N-RAS occur frequently in melanoma, leading to mitogen activating protein kinase (MAPK) pathway activation, and this pathway is the target of drugs in development. Our purpose was to study clinical characteristics of patients with mutations in this pathway and to determine activity of inhibitors of B-RAF and MEK in short term cultures grown from tumors of some of these patients.
Clinical and pathologic data were collected retrospectively on melanoma patients tested for B-RAF and N-RAS mutations at the Yale Cancer Center and associations with survival were determined. We studied in vitro activity of the pan-RAF inhibitor, RAF265, and the MEK inhibitor, MEK162, in 22 melanoma short term cultures. We further characterized the effect of MEK inhibition on apoptosis and growth of melanoma cultures.
In a cohort of 144 metastatic melanoma patients we found that patients with N-RAS mutant melanoma had a worse prognosis. These patients were more likely to have brain metastases at the time of presentation with metastatic disease than their N-RAS-wild-type counterparts. All N-RAS mutant melanoma cultures tested in our study (n = 7) were sensitive to MEK inhibition162. Exposure to MEK162 reduced ERK1/2 phosphorylation, and induced apoptosis. Clonogenic survival was significantly reduced in sensitive melanoma cell cultures.
The prognosis of patients with melanoma expressing constitutively active N-RAS is poor, consistent with studies performed at other institutions. N-RAS mutant melanoma cultures appear to be particularly sensitive to MEK162, supporting ongoing clinical trials with MEK162 in N-RAS mutated melanoma.
Molecular Cancer 03/2014; 13(1):45. DOI:10.1186/1476-4598-13-45 · 4.26 Impact Factor
"The latter may be controlled for through the use of an additional antibody capable of detecting total BRAF protein expression. With regard to the intra-tumor heterogeneity of BRAF V600E, only few cases with non-homogenous expression have been observed following immunohistochemical detection (67, 69). These results are in direct contrast to previous reports describing significant variability of BRAF mutational status among individual cells within a tumor and warrant further investigation (70, 71). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The emergence of targeted therapies for cancer has created a need for the development of companion diagnostic tests. Assays developed in recent years are aimed at determining both the effectiveness and safety of specific drugs for a defined group of patients, thus, enabling the more efficient design of clinical trials and also supporting physicians when making treatment-related decisions. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a widely accepted method for protein expression analyses in human tissues. Immunohistochemical assays, used to localize and quantitate relative protein expression levels within a morphological context, are frequently used as companion diagnostics during clinical trials and also following drug approval. Herein, we describe established immunochemistry-based methods and their application in routine diagnostics. We also explore the possibility of using IHC to detect specific protein mutations in addition to DNA-based tests. Finally, we review alternative protein binders and proximity ligation assays and discuss their potential to facilitate the development of novel, targeted therapies against cancer.
Frontiers in Oncology 10/2013; 3:271. DOI:10.3389/fonc.2013.00271
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