Farbod Darvishian

New York University, New York City, NY, United States

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Publications (51)236.08 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Neural infiltration in primary melanoma is a histopathologic feature that has been associated with desmoplastic histopathologic subtype and local recurrence in the literature. We tested the hypothesis that improved detection and characterization of neural infiltration into peritumoral or intratumoral location and perineural or intraneural involvement could have prognostic relevance. We studied 128 primary melanoma cases prospectively accrued and followed at New York University using immunohistochemical detection with anti-human neurofilament protein and routine histology with hematoxylin and eosin. Neural infiltration, defined as the presence of tumor cells involving or immediately surrounding nerve foci, was identified and characterized using both detection methods. Neural infiltration rate of detection was enhanced by immunohistochemistry for neurofilament in matched pair design (47% by immunohistochemistry vs. 25% by routine histology). Immunohistochemical detection of neural infiltration was significantly associated with ulceration (p = 0.021), Desmoplastic and Acral Lentiginous histologic subtype (p = 0.008), as well as head/neck/hands/feet tumor location (p = 0.037). Routinely detected neural infiltration was significantly associated with local recurrence (p = 0.010). Immunohistochemistry detected more intratumoral neural infiltration cases compared to routine histology (30% vs. 3%, respectively). Peritumoral and intratumoral nerve location had no impact on clinical outcomes. Using a multivariate model controlling for stage, neither routinely detected neural infiltration nor enhanced immunohistochemical characterization of neural infiltration were significantly associated with disease free or overall survival. Our data demonstrate that routinely detected neural infiltration is associated with local recurrence in all histologic subtypes, but that improved detection and characterization of neural infiltration with immunohistochemistry in primary melanoma does not add to prognostic relevance.
    Human pathology 01/2014; · 3.03 Impact Factor
  • Farbod Darvishian, Fumiko Konno, Meng Qian, Joan Cangiarella
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    ABSTRACT: Papillary carcinoma of the breast consists of 3 morphologically distinct established subtypes: encapsulated papillary carcinoma, solid papillary carcinoma, and invasive papillary carcinoma. Papillary carcinoma is one of the special types of breast cancer and, as such, carries a more favorable prognosis. We sought to identify primary breast tumors with tubulopapillary morphology and correlate this finding with predictors of adverse prognosis. We investigated our pathology files for breast tumors exhibiting tubulopapillary features. The dominant morphology consisted of infiltrating gaping tubules with intratubular papillary projections. The study group consisted of 12 cases of papillary carcinoma with tubulopapillary features. A control group of 17 cases of papillary carcinoma were selected consisting of 4 encapsulated papillary carcinomas, 3 solid papillary carcinomas, and 10 invasive papillary carcinomas. The study group showed significantly higher mitotic rate, ki67 proliferation index, nuclear grade 3, lymphovascular invasion, p53 overexpression, unfavorable biomarker signature, and axillary nodal involvement compared to the control group (P = .01, .01, .04, .01, .007, .0001, .03, respectively). Invasive breast carcinomas with tubulopapillary features demonstrate significant correlation with predictors of adverse prognosis compared to ordinary papillary carcinomas. Larger studies with survival analysis are required to confirm aggressiveness in this group of breast cancers.
    International Journal of Surgical Pathology 09/2013; · 0.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Age is an understudied factor when considering treatment options for melanoma. Here, we examine the impact of age on primary melanoma treatment in a prospective cohort of patients. Methods: We used logistic regression models to examine the associations between age and initial treatment, using recurrence and melanoma-specific survival as endpoints. Results: 444 primary melanoma patients were categorized into three groups by age at diagnosis: 19-45 years (24.3%), 46-70 (50.2%), and 71-95 (25.5%). In multivariate models, older patients experienced a higher risk of recurrence (hazard ratio 3.34, 95% confidence interval, CI, 1.53-7.25; p < 0.01). No significant differences were observed in positive biopsy margin rates or extent of surgical margins across age groups. Patients in the middle age group were more likely to receive adjuvant therapy than those in the older group (odds ratio 2.78, 95% CI 1.19-6.45; p = 0.02) and showed a trend to longer disease-free survival when receiving adjuvant therapy (p = 0.09). Conclusion: Our data support age as an independent negative prognostic factor in melanoma. Our data suggest that age does not affect primary surgical treatment but may affect decisions of whether or not patients receive postoperative treatment(s). Further work is needed to better understand the biological variables affecting treatment decisions and efficacy in older patients.
    Oncology 08/2013; 85(3):173-181. · 2.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Metastatic melanoma remains a mostly incurable disease. Although newly approved targeted therapies are efficacious in a subset of patients, resistance and relapse rapidly ensue. Alternative therapeutic strategies to manipulate epigenetic regulators and disrupt the transcriptional program that maintains tumor cell identity are emerging. Bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) proteins are epigenome readers known to exert key roles at the interface between chromatin remodeling and transcriptional regulation. Here we report that BRD4, a BET family member, is significantly upregulated in primary and metastatic melanoma tissues compared to melanocytes and nevi. Treatment with BET inhibitors impaired melanoma cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth and metastatic behavior in vivo, effects that were mostly recapitulated by individual silencing of BRD4. RNA sequencing of BET inhibitor-treated cells followed by gene ontology analysis showed a striking impact on transcriptional programs controlling cell growth, proliferation, cell-cycle regulation and differentiation. In particular, we found that, rapidly after BET displacement, key cell cycle genes (SKP2, ERK1 and c-MYC) were downregulated concomitantly with the accumulation of CDK inhibitors (p21, p27), followed by melanoma cell cycle arrest. Importantly, BET inhibitor efficacy was not influenced by BRAF or NRAS mutational status, opening the possibility of using these small molecule compounds to treat patients for whom no effective targeted therapy exists. Collectively, our study reveals a critical role for BRD4 in melanoma tumor maintenance, and renders it a legitimate and novel target for epigenetic therapy directed against the core transcriptional program of melanoma.
    Cancer Research 08/2013; · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The prognostic value of mitotic rate in melanoma is increasingly recognized, particularly in thin melanoma in which the presence or absence of a single mitosis/mm can change staging from T1a to T1b. Still, accurate mitotic rate calculation (mitoses/mm) on hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained sections can be challenging. Antimonoclonal mitotic protein-2 (MPM-2) and antiphosphohistone-H3 (PHH3) are 2 antibodies reported to be more mitosis-specific than other markers of proliferation such as Ki-67. We used light microscopy and computer-assisted image analysis software to quantify MPM-2 and PHH3 staining in melanoma. We then compared mitotic rates by each method with conventional H&E-based mitotic rate for correlation with clinical outcomes. Our study included primary tissues from 190 nonconsecutive cutaneous melanoma patients who were prospectively enrolled at New York University Langone Medical Center with information on age, gender, and primary tumor characteristics. The mitotic rate was quantified manually by light microscopy of corresponding H&E-stained, MPM-2-stained, and PHH3-stained sections. Computer-assisted image analysis was then used to quantify immunolabeled mitoses on the previously examined PHH3 and MPM-2 slides. We then analyzed the association between mitotic rate and both progression-free and melanoma-specific survival. Univariate analysis of PHH3 found significant correlation between increased PHH3 mitotic rate and decreased progression-free survival (P=0.04). Computer-assisted image analysis enhanced the correlation of PHH3 mitotic rate with progression-free survival (P=0.02). Regardless of the detection method, neither MPM-2 nor PHH3 offered significant advantage over conventional H&E determination of mitotic rate.
    The American journal of surgical pathology 04/2013; · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: T cells expressing antigen-specific T-cell receptors (TCRs) can mediate effective tumor regression, but they often also are accompanied by autoimmune responses. To determine the TCR affinity threshold defining the optimal balance between effective antitumor activity and autoimmunity in vivo, we used a unique self-antigen system comprising seven human melanoma gp100(209-217)-specific TCRs spanning physiological affinities (1-100 μM). We found that in vitro and in vivo T-cell responses are determined by TCR affinity, except in one case that was compensated by substantial CD8 involvement. Strikingly, we found that T-cell antitumor activity and autoimmunity are closely coupled but plateau at a defined TCR affinity of 10 µM, likely due to diminished contribution of TCR affinity to avidity above the threshold. Together, these results suggest that a relatively low-affinity threshold is necessary for the immune system to avoid self-damage, given the close relationship between antitumor activity and autoimmunity. The low threshold, in turn, indicates that adoptive T-cell therapy treatment strategies using in vitro-generated high-affinity TCRs do not necessarily improve efficacy.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the microRNA signature that distinguishes the most common melanoma histological subtypes, superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) and nodular melanoma (NM). We also investigated the mechanisms underlying the differential expression of histology-specific microRNAs. MicroRNA array performed on a training cohort of 82 primary melanoma tumors (26 SSM, 56 NM), and nine congenital nevi (CN) revealed 134 microRNAs differentially expressed between SSM and NM (P<0.05). Out of 134 microRNAs, 126 remained significant after controlling for thickness and 31 were expressed at a lower level in SSM compared with both NM and CN. For seven microRNAs (let-7g, miR-15a, miR-16, miR-138, miR-181a, miR-191, and miR-933), the downregulation was associated with selective genomic loss in SSM cell lines and primary tumors, but not in NM cell lines and primary tumors. The lower expression level of six out of seven microRNAs in SSM compared with NM was confirmed by real-time PCR on a subset of cases in the training cohort and validated in an independent cohort of 97 melanoma cases (38 SSM, 59 NM). Our data support a molecular classification in which SSM and NM are two molecularly distinct phenotypes. Therapeutic strategies that take into account subtype-specific alterations might improve the outcome of melanoma patients.
    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 05/2012; 132(7):1860-8. · 6.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melanoma brain metastasis that develops as the isolated first visceral site challenges the current paradigm of tumor progression in which brain metastasis is regarded as the final stage. Here we test the hypothesis that melanoma patients who develop brain metastasis as the isolated first visceral site have distinct clinicopathological features at the time of primary melanoma diagnosis. Cutaneous melanoma patients enrolled in 2 prospectively collected databases were studied (Cohort 1: 1972-1982, Cohort 2: 2002-2009). Patients who developed brain metastasis as isolated first visceral site were compared with (1) all other patients, (2) patients who developed visceral metastasis: extracranial only or extracranial and brain, and (3) patients who progressed to other isolated visceral sites first. Two hundred seven of 2280 (9.1%) patients developed brain metastasis (median follow-up, 5.2 y). Seventy-four of 207 (35.7%) brain metastasis patients progressed to brain metastasis as the isolated first visceral site. These patients presented with primaries that were thinner and had no mitosis compared with all other visceral metastasis patients (Fisher's combined P = .02, .05, respectively), and there was a significant difference in American Joint Committee on Cancer stage distribution at initial melanoma diagnosis (combined P = .02). Post-visceral metastasis survival, however, was shorter in patients with brain metastasis as isolated first visceral site than in patients with visceral metastasis: extracranial and brain (combined P = .03). Brain metastasis as isolated first visceral site is a distinct clinicopathological entity. Studies are needed to better understand the biological factors driving this phenotype at the time of primary melanoma diagnosis and to determine its clinical implications.
    Neuro-Oncology 05/2012; 14(7):849-58. · 6.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The sentinel lymph node is the initial site of metastasis. Downregulation of antitumor immunity has a role in nodal progression. Our objective was to investigate the relationship between immune modulation and sentinel lymph node positivity, correlating it with outcome in melanoma patients. Lymph node/primary tissues from melanoma patients prospectively accrued and followed at New York University Medical Center were evaluated for the presence of regulatory T cells (Foxp3(+)) and dendritic cells (conventional: CD11c(+), mature: CD86(+)) using immunohistochemistry. Primary melanoma immune cell profiles from sentinel lymph node-positive/-negative patients were compared. Logistic regression models inclusive of standard-of-care/immunological primary tumor characteristics were constructed to predict the risk of sentinel lymph node positivity. Immunological responses in the positive sentinel lymph node were also compared with those in the negative non-sentinel node from the same nodal basin and matched negative sentinel lymph node. Decreased immune response was defined as increased regulatory T cells or decreased dendritic cells. Associations between the expression of these immune modulators, clinicopathological variables, and clinical outcome were evaluated using univariate/multivariate analyses. Primary tumor conventional dendritic cells and regression were protective against sentinel lymph node metastasis (odds ratio=0.714, 0.067; P=0.0099, 0.0816, respectively). Antitumor immunity was downregulated in the positive sentinel lymph node with an increase in regulatory T cells compared with the negative non-sentinel node from the same nodal basin (P=0.0005) and matched negative sentinel lymph node (P=0.0002). The positive sentinel lymph node also had decreased numbers of conventional dendritic cells compared with the negative sentinel lymph node (P<0.0001). Adding sentinel lymph node regulatory T cell expression improved the discriminative power of a recurrence risk assessment model using clinical stage. Primary tumor regression was associated with prolonged disease-free (P=0.025) and melanoma-specific (P=0.014) survival. Our results support an assessment of local immune profiles in both the primary tumor and sentinel lymph node to help guide therapeutic decisions.
    Modern Pathology 03/2012; 25(7):1000-10. · 5.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In patients with multiple primary melanomas (MPM), mean tumor thickness tends to decrease from the first melanoma to the second melanoma, and prognosis may be improved compared with the prognosis for patients who have a single primary melanoma (SPM). In this study, the authors compared the clinicopathologic features of patients with MPM and SPM to better characterize the differences between these 2 groups and to determine whether or not there is an inherent difference in tumor aggression. In total, 788 patients with melanoma who were enrolled prospectively in the Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group database from 2002 to 2008 were studied. Patients with SPM and with MPM were compared with regard to clinical and primary melanoma characteristics. Of 788 patients with melanoma, 61 patients (7.7%) had 2 or more primary melanomas. The incidence of developing a second primary melanoma 1 year and 5 years after initial melanoma diagnosis was 4.1% and 8.7%, respectively, and most of the risk accumulated within the first year. The incidence of MPM was greater in patients aged ≥60 years than in those aged ≤60 years. The absence or presence of mitosis and other tumor characteristics did not differ significantly between patients with SPM and patients with MPM (P = .61). No difference was observed in the presence or absence of mitoses, a marker of tumor proliferation, in SPM and MPM. Because it has been demonstrated that the presence of mitosis is a powerful prognostic marker, the current findings suggested that the tumors behave similarly in patients with SPM and patients with MPM. The authors concluded that differences in tumor thickness and prognosis between SPM and MPM more likely are caused by factors other than tumor biology, such as increased surveillance.
    Cancer 01/2012; 118(17):4184-92. · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The rationale for using small molecule inhibitors of oncogenic proteins as cancer therapies depends, at least in part, on the assumption that metastatic tumors are primarily clonal with respect to mutant oncogene. With the emergence of BRAF(V600E) as a therapeutic target, we investigated intra- and inter-tumor heterogeneity in melanoma using detection of the BRAF(V600E) mutation as a marker of clonality. BRAF mutant-specific PCR (MS-PCR) and conventional sequencing were performed on 112 tumors from 73 patients, including patients with matched primary and metastatic specimens (n = 18). Nineteen patients had tissues available from multiple metastatic sites. Mutations were detected in 36/112 (32%) melanomas using conventional sequencing, and 85/112 (76%) using MS-PCR. The better sensitivity of the MS-PCR to detect the mutant BRAF(V600E) allele was not due to the presence of contaminating normal tissue, suggesting that the tumor was comprised of subclones of differing BRAF genotypes. To determine if tumor subclones were present in individual primary melanomas, we performed laser microdissection and mutation detection via sequencing and BRAF(V600E)-specific SNaPshot analysis in 9 cases. Six of these cases demonstrated differing proportions of BRAF(V600E)and BRAF(wild-type) cells in distinct microdissected regions within individual tumors. Additional analyses of multiple metastatic samples from individual patients using the highly sensitive MS-PCR without microdissection revealed that 5/19 (26%) patients had metastases that were discordant for the BRAF(V600E) mutation. In conclusion, we used highly sensitive BRAF mutation detection methods and observed substantial evidence for heterogeneity of the BRAF(V600E) mutation within individual melanoma tumor specimens, and among multiple specimens from individual patients. Given the varied clinical responses of patients to BRAF inhibitor therapy, these data suggest that additional studies to determine possible associations between clinical outcomes and intra- and inter-tumor heterogeneity could prove fruitful.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(1):e29336. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Immunohistochemistry (IHC) using endothelial markers may facilitate the detection of lymphovascular invasion (LVI) in primary melanoma; however, the clinical implications of enhanced detection are unknown. We evaluated whether the use of lymphatic endothelial marker D2-40 and panvascular marker CD34 increases LVI positivity relative to routine histology alone and then evaluated the prognostic relevance of LVI detected using these markers in terms of disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS). A total of 246 primary melanomas were assessed for LVI using D2-40, CD34, and routine histology. Associations between LVI positivity and clinicopathologic variables, DFS, and OS were compared using univariate and multivariate analyses. The use of endothelial markers increased the rate of LVI positivity (18% using D2-40 and/or CD34 vs. 3% by routine histology, P<0.0001). On univariate analysis, IHC-detected LVI was significantly associated with more adverse clinicopathologic variables (thickness, ulceration, mitoses, and nodular subtype) compared with LVI detected by routine histology (thickness and ulceration only). In a multivariate model controlling for stage, LVI detected using IHC markers remained a significant marker of both reduced DFS [hazard ratio (HR), 2.01; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.27-3.18; P=0.003] and OS (HR, 2.08; 95% CI: 1.25-3.46; P=0.005). Results show that D2-40 and CD34 increase the detection of LVI in primary melanoma and that cases missed by routine histology have prognostic relevance.
    The American journal of surgical pathology 08/2011; 35(10):1441-9. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Investigative Dermatology 08/2011; 131(12):2497-500. · 6.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To metastasize, a tumor cell must acquire abilities such as the capacity to colonize new tissue and evade immune surveillance. Recent evidence suggests that microRNAs can promote the evolution of malignant behaviors by regulating multiple targets. We performed a microRNA analysis of human melanoma, a highly invasive cancer, and found that miR-30b/30d upregulation correlates with stage, metastatic potential, shorter time to recurrence, and reduced overall survival. Ectopic expression of miR-30b/30d promoted the metastatic behavior of melanoma cells by directly targeting the GalNAc transferase GALNT7, resulted in increased synthesis of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10, and reduced immune cell activation and recruitment. These data support a key role of miR-30b/30d and GalNAc transferases in metastasis, by simultaneously promoting cellular invasion and immunosuppression.
    Cancer cell 07/2011; 20(1):104-18. · 25.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite multiple studies, many clinicopathologic issues about chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remain contentious; for example, its biological behavior-whether better or similar to papillary RCC, the incidence of sarcomatoid features, and whether pathologic features such as necrosis, nuclear grade, and tumor stage predict worse outcome. We studied 203 consecutive primary chromophobe RCCs resected at our institution in an attempt to answer these and other questions. The tumors showed significant progressive decrease in size and stage (P=0.047 and 0.001) from 1980 to 2000. Five patients had metastasis at presentation, and further disease-specific events (recurrence/metastasis/death due to disease) occurred in 8 more. Only 4 of 203 tumors had sarcomatoid features. Over median follow-up of 6.1 years (range, 0.1 to 18 y), 5-year and 10-year disease-specific events occurred in 3.7% (95% CI, 1.5%, 7.4%) and 6.4% (95% CI, 2.7%, 12.2%) patients. Outcomes showed significant association with tumor size, small-vessel invasion, sarcomatoid features, and microscopic necrosis (P≤0.05 each). pT stage or nodal metastasis tended to show some association, without reaching statistical significance (P=0.05 and 0.06, respectively). A modified tumor grading scheme, somewhat similar to that proposed recently, mitotic index, cytologic eosinophilia, and architecture, were not significantly associated with outcome. In conclusion, sarcomatoid differentiation is quite uncommon in chromophobe RCC. Tumor size, small-vessel invasion, sarcomatoid differentiation, and microscopic necrosis are the only features that are significantly associated with adverse outcome. On the basis of this long follow-up on a large number of cases, chromophobes seem to have better clinical outcomes than those reported for clear cell and papillary RCCs.
    The American journal of surgical pathology 07/2011; 35(7):962-70. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous melanoma studies evaluating prognostic factors of survival at recurrence have focused on primary tumor characteristics and clinical variables at first recurrence. We examined the prognostic relevance of recurrent tumor proliferation. 114 melanoma patients with available recurrent tissues who were prospectively enrolled at New York University Medical Center were studied. Standard of care prognostic variables (e.g. stage at initial diagnosis and lactate dehydrogenase level) and recurrent tissue expression of proliferative marker Ki-67 were evaluated for their association with overall survival. High Ki-67 expression was observed in 57 (50%) of the 114 recurrent melanomas. On univariate analysis, the median overall survival of patients whose recurrent tumors overexpressed Ki-67 was significantly shorter than that of patients whose recurrent tumors had low Ki-67 expression (3.6 vs. 9.5 years, p = 0.03). On multivariate analysis, a high proliferative index of the recurrent melanoma remained an independent predictor of worse overall survival, controlling for stage at initial diagnosis, disease-free survival, and stage at first recurrence [HR = 2.09 (95% CI 1.24-3.54), p = 0.006]. Our results demonstrate the prognostic relevance of tumor proliferation in recurrent melanoma patients. Data also support restratification of risk assessment upon recurrence that considers tumor biology in addition to clinical variables evaluated as part of the standard of care.
    Oncology 06/2011; 80(3-4):181-7. · 2.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melanoma patients who develop brain metastases (B-Met) have limited survival and are excluded from most clinical trials. In the current study, the authors attempted to identify primary tumor characteristics and clinical features predictive of B-Met development and post-B-Met survival. A prospectively accrued cohort of 900 melanoma patients was studied to identify clinicopathologic features of primary melanoma (eg, thickness, ulceration, mitotic index, and lymphovascular invasion) that are predictive of B-Met development and survival after a diagnosis of B-Met. Associations between clinical variables present at the time of B-Met diagnosis (eg, extracranial metastases, B-Met location, and the presence of neurological symptoms) and post-B-Met survival were also assessed. Univariate associations were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, and the effect of independent predictors was assessed using multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis. Of the 900 melanoma patients studied, 89 (10%) developed B-Met. Ulceration and site of the primary tumor on the head and neck were found to be independent predictors of B-Met development on multivariate analysis (P = .001 and P = .003, respectively). Clinical variables found to be predictive of post-B-Met survival on multivariate analysis included the presence of neurological symptoms (P = .008) and extracranial metastases (P = .04). Ulceration was the only primary tumor characteristic that remained a significant predictor of post-B-Met survival on multivariate analysis (P = .04). Primary tumor ulceration was found to be the strongest predictor of B-Met development and remained an independent predictor of decreased post-B-Met survival in a multivariate analysis inclusive of primary tumor characteristics and clinical variables. The results of the current study suggest that patients with ulcerated primary tumors should be prospectively studied to determine whether heightened surveillance for B-Met can improve clinical outcome.
    Cancer 04/2011; 117(8):1711-20. · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) and nodular melanoma (NM) are believed to represent sequential phases of linear progression from radial to vertical growth. Several lines of clinical, pathologic, and epidemiologic evidence suggest, however, that SSM and NM might be the result of independent pathways of tumor development. We utilized an integrative genomic approach that combines single nucleotide polymorphism array (6.0; Affymetrix) with gene expression array (U133A 2.0; Affymetrix) to examine molecular differences between SSM and NM. Pathway analysis of the most differentially expressed genes between SSM and NM (N = 114) revealed significant differences related to metabolic processes. We identified 8 genes (DIS3, FGFR1OP, G3BP2, GALNT7, MTAP, SEC23IP, USO1, and ZNF668) in which NM/SSM-specific copy number alterations correlated with differential gene expression (P < 0.05; Spearman's rank). SSM-specific genomic deletions in G3BP2, MTAP, and SEC23IP were independently verified in two external data sets. Forced overexpression of metabolism-related gene MTAP (methylthioadenosine phosphorylase) in SSM resulted in reduced cell growth. The differential expression of another metabolic-related gene, aldehyde dehydrogenase 7A1 (ALDH7A1), was validated at the protein level by using tissue microarrays of human melanoma. In addition, we show that the decreased ALDH7A1 expression in SSM may be the result of epigenetic modifications. Our data reveal recurrent genomic deletions in SSM not present in NM, which challenge the linear model of melanoma progression. Furthermore, our data suggest a role for altered regulation of metabolism-related genes as a possible cause of the different clinical behavior of SSM and NM.
    Cancer Research 02/2011; 71(7):2561-71. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several reports have demonstrated a role for aberrant NOTCH signaling in melanoma genesis and progression, prompting us to explore if targeting this pathway is a valid therapeutic approach against melanoma. We targeted NOTCH signaling using RO4929097, a novel inhibitor of gamma secretase, which is a key component of the enzymatic complex that cleaves and activates NOTCH. The effects of RO4929097 on the oncogenic and stem cell properties of a panel of melanoma cell lines were tested both in vitro and in vivo, using xenograft models. In human primary melanoma cell lines, RO4929097 decreased the levels of NOTCH transcriptional target HES1. This was accompanied by reduced proliferation and impaired ability to form colonies in soft agar and to organize in tridimensional spheres. Moreover, RO4929097 affected the growth of human primary melanoma xenograft in NOD/SCID/IL2gammaR-/- mice and inhibited subsequent tumor formation in a serial xenotransplantation model, suggesting that inhibition of NOTCH signaling suppresses the tumor initiating potential of melanoma cells. In addition, RO4929097 decreased tumor volume and blocked the invasive growth pattern of metastatic melanoma cell lines in vivo. Finally, increased gene expression of NOTCH signaling components correlated with shorter post recurrence survival in metastatic melanoma cases. Our data support NOTCH inhibition as a promising therapeutic strategy against melanoma.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(9):e25264. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    The Breast Journal 01/2011; 17(6):689-91. · 1.83 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

739 Citations
236.08 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2011
    • New York University
      • • Department of Dermatology
      • • Department of Pathology
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2006–2011
    • State University of New York Downstate Medical Center
      • Department of Pathology
      Brooklyn, NY, United States
  • 2007–2008
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2005–2006
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      • Department of Pathology
      New York City, NY, United States