Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with multiple markers has been demonstrated to be highly sensitive in detecting metastatic cells in peripheral blood of malignant melanoma (MM) patients, and the circulating MM cells to be significantly correlated with disease stages. We further evaluated the presence of specific PCR-positive mRNA markers in peripheral blood as well as in regional nodes as an expression of tumor progression. Peripheral blood samples from 317 MM patients with either localized (n = 219) or metastatic (n = 98) disease were processed to obtain total cellular RNA. RT-PCR was performed using tyrosinase (TYR), p97, and MelanA/MART1 as mRNA markers. PCR products were analyzed by gel electrophoresis and Southern blot hybridization. In addition, paraffin-embedded samples of histologically proven tumor-negative lymph nodes from the subset of patients with localized disease were analyzed by RT-PCR, using radiolabeled primers for TYR and MelanA/MART1. The presence of mRNA markers was significantly correlated with tumor burden with a good correlation between risk of recurrence (evaluated in stage I-III patients) and increasing number of PCR-positive markers (p = 0.0002). Currently, for each patient, PCR results obtained at different times during follow-up are being analyzed, and any variation in the number of PCR-positive markers is being correlated to the clinical status. Molecular screening of histologically negative nodes for the presence of metastatic MM cells is also under evaluation. Preliminary assessment of a subset of MM patients with higher risk of recurrence will require longer follow-up in order to define the role of RT-PCR in monitoring these patients.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Recent results in cancer research. Fortschritte der Krebsforschung. Progres dans les recherches sur le cancer|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|